Last updated on March 2018

Efficacy of Topical Coal Tar in Children With Atopic Dermatitis


Brief description of study

Rationale/hypothesis: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is an inflammatory skin disease, occurring most frequently in children. Currently, topically applied corticosteroids are used as a standard anti-inflammatory treatment. When a corticosteroid with a high potency is used for a long period of time, adverse effects like skin atrophy and systemic effects may occur, especially in children. In addition, corticophobia among patients is an issue that warrants alternatives for the treatment of AD in children. An alternative treatment is the topical application of coal tar, which is known to be an effective and safe treatment for AD for ages, and is used in our department for decennia. Although there is convincing evidence in the literature on the safety of coal tar, evidence in the literature on the efficacy of coal tar in the treatment of AD is lacking, especially in children.

Objective: To evaluate efficacy of topical treatment with coal tar compared to topical treatment with corticosteroids in children aged 1 to <16 years with moderate to severe AD

Study design: investigator-initiated, parallel-group randomized controlled pilot study

Study population: Children aged 1 to <16 years with moderate-severe AD

Intervention: Patients will be randomized in two groups: (1) topical treatment with coal tar or (2) topical treatment with moderate potency corticosteroids for a treatment duration of 4 weeks.

Main study parameters/endpoints: The primary outcome is the percentage change in EASI score at week 2.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03461302

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Tessa Kouwenhoven, MD

Department of Dermatology
Nijmegen, Netherlands
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