The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK has recommended the use of alitretinoin as a treatment option for adults with severe chronic hand eczema.

The treatment distributed by Basilea Pharmaceuticals is indicated for severe eczema that has not responded to potent topical corticosteroids.

NICE Clinical and Public Health director Professor Peter Littlejohns said that eczema can have a huge impact on an individual, with the condition causing significant discomfort and pain.

“This new guidance recommending alitretinoin will offer hope to adults whose severe chronic hand eczema hasn’t been helped by strong topical corticosteroids,” Littlejohns said.

NICE also recommends that treatment should stop as soon as an adequate response (hands clear or almost clear) has been achieved.

If the eczema is still defined by assessment as severe at 12 weeks, or if an adequate response hasn’t been achieved by 24 weeks, then treatment should be stopped.

The guidance also recommends that only dermatologists, or physicians with experience in managing severe chronic hand eczema and the use of systemic retinoids, should start and monitor treatment with alitretinoin.