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January 1978

Topical Use of Caffeine With Hydrocortisone in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology, University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, Memphis.

Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(1):60-62. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640130024007

• In a double-blind study, topically applied caffeine 30%-hydrocortisone 0.5% in hydrophilic ointment was compared to betamethasone valerate 0.1% cream and to hydrocortisone 0.5% in hydrophilic ointment. Eighty-three patients were evaluated over a three-week period for pruritus, erythema, scaling, lichenification, excoriation, oozing, and global impression. The betamethasone and caffeinehydrocortisone groups performed significantly better than the hydrocortisone group on three of the seven scales: lichenification, excoriation, and global impression. Also, the betamethasone group differed significantly from the hydrocortisone group on six of the seven scales, but did not differ significantly from the caffeine-hydrocortisone group on any scale. It is suggested that caffeine is effective because it elevates local levels of cyclic adenosine-3′, 5′-monophosphate by inhibiting phosphodiesterase.

(Arch Dermatol 114:60-62, 1978)