Background: Oral systemic immunomodulatory medication is regularly used off-licence in children with severe atopic eczema. However, there is no firm evidence regarding the effectiveness, safety, cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life from an adequately powered randomized controlled trial (RCT) using systemic medication in children.
Objectives: To assess whether there is a difference in the speed of onset, effectiveness, side-effect profile and reduction in flares post-treatment between ciclosporin (CyA) and methotrexate (MTX), and also the cost-effectiveness of the drugs. Treatment impact on quality of life will also be examined in addition to whether FLG genotype influences treatment response. In addition, the trial studies the immune-metabolic effects of CyA and MTX.
Methods: Multicentre, parallel group, assessor-blind, pragmatic RCT of 36 weeks' duration with a 24-week follow-up period. In total, 102 children aged 2-16 years with moderate-to-severe atopic eczema, unresponsive to topical treatment will be randomized (1 : 1) to receive MTX (0·4 mg kg-1 per week) or CyA (4 mg kg-1 per day).
Results: The trial has two primary outcomes: change from baseline to 12 weeks in Objective Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (o-SCORAD) and time to first significant flare following treatment cessation.
Conclusions: This trial addresses important therapeutic questions, highlighted in systematic reviews and treatment guidelines for atopic eczema. The trial design is pragmatic to reflect current clinical practice.
© 2018 British Association of Dermatologists.