Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Eczema Health Center

Font Size

New Drug Relieves Hand Eczema

In Some Patients, Alitretinoin Cleared Severe Hand Eczema After Standard Treatment Failed

Alitretinoin Clears Up Severe Hand Dermatitis continued...

In contrast, 28% of patients treated with the lower dose and 17% of placebo-treated patients completely or almost completely responded.

The second study involved 249 patients in Europe and Canada. All had suffered from hand eczema for years. Steroid ointments no longer worked for them, Lynde says.

All received the higher dose of alitretinoin for up to 24 weeks.

The hand rash cleared up in 47% of patients.

The third study was designed to determine if the drug could help patients who relapse after treatment with alitretinoin.

"About a third relapsed, so we tried alitretinoin again," Lynde says.

It worked, with the rash resolving in about four-fifths of patients given the 30-milligram dose. In contrast, fewer than 10% of patients given a placebo responded.

Alitretinoin doesn't work overnight -- it typically takes four to six weeks to see any change, Lynde says. And not everyone responds.

"But this does offer new hope for dermatitis we thought was incurable. Patients improve and quite a few go into remission," he says.

The most frequent side effects are headache and dryness and flushing of the skin, Lynde says. Also, it can cause serious, even fatal birth defects, so women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should never take it, he says.

Additionally, the medication can make you more sensitive to the sun, so you may burn more easily, says past AAD president Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

"On the flip side, chronic hand eczema is very hard to treat. If it’s so severe you don't want to go out in public or you’re in business and don’t want to shake hands, this appears to offer a good option," he tells WebMD.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

woman meditating
Learn how to deal with a key trigger: stress.
Getting your eczema under control?
man with eczema
Does it affect your eczema?
makeup brushes and foundation
And be educated when shopping for cosmetics.
Antipsychotic Drugs Blood Clots
Eczema Emotional Effects
young woman touching skin
Eczema on arm

Itching for Relief?

Get Help With the

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.