Efficacy and safety of wet-wrap dressings in children with severe atopic dermatitis: influence of corticosteroid dilution

Br J Dermatol. 2000 Nov;143(5):999-1004. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2000.03833.x.


Background: The wet-wrap treatment involves emollients or corticosteroid dilutions under occlusive wet dressings, and has been reported to be highly effective in severe refractory atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objectives: To investigate the influence of different corticosteroid dilutions on the efficacy and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression in children with severe refractory AD having wet-wrap dressings.

Methods: Eighteen children were treated with a 50% dilution of fluticasone propionate (FP) 0.05% cream for 2 weeks. In another five children a side-to-side comparison was conducted with 10%, 25% and 50% dilutions of FP cream under wet wrap. A third group of eight children was treated with 0% (= emollient), 5%, 10% or 25% dilutions of FP cream applied on the whole body under wet wrap.

Results: After 1 week, a major improvement averaging 74% was observed, without apparent differences between 5%, 10% or 25% dilutions of FP cream under wet wrap, with less improvement in the second week of treatment. The first and second group of children showed HPA axis suppression in only three of 23 children using measurements of 09.00 h serum cortisol after 2 weeks. The third group of children showed HPA axis suppression, as indicated by 06.00 h serum cortisol levels, which was related to the absolute amount of FP applied.

Conclusions: This suggests that weaker corticosteroid dilutions had comparable high efficacy, but lower risk of HPA axis suppression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Androstadienes / administration & dosage*
  • Androstadienes / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fluticasone
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Occlusive Dressings*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Water


  • Androstadienes
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Water
  • Fluticasone