NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When you hear “eczema,” you probably think of an itchy rash your children had as babies, but it affects as many as 16 million adults.Driver Wanted After Jeep Plowed Into Family On Bronx Sidewalk; 'Car Sped Up To Hit Us,' Witness Says
Eczema is a misunderstood and underestimated skin problem. Most people think of it as a rash that most babies will outgrow. But eczema can and does afflict adults.
“Itching was persistent, dry skin,” said Kwame Baird, an eczema patient. “So I would have to apply cream every half hour.”
Baird’s eczema covered large parts of his body, from knees to face. As a teacher who couldn’t hide, it even affected his mental health.
“I’ve never felt depressed before, but I felt it in that moment,” Baird said.
There are a number of medications that can help with eczema, but all have significant side effects or have to be injected.READ MORE: Suffolk County Police Looking For 2 Missing Teens From Lindenhurst
A new study has found that an oral drug called RINVOQ, which is prescribed for arthritis, has remarkable effectiveness on moderate to severe eczema.
Dr. Emma Guttman-Yassky, chairwoman of dermatology at Mount Sinai, is the study’s lead author.
“The level of clearance is something that we didn’t see with other medications before, and it is an oral medication. It allows flexibility in stopping and restarting. So patients can take it for a while, they can stop it, they can take it again when they flare,” Dr. Guttman-Yassky said.
Better yet, RINVOQ works within days. Baird was in the clinical trial and saw remarkable results.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not itching anymore,'” he said. “I just feel much more confident. I don’t have to hide my skin.”
Like any drug, this has some side effects: a risk of some infections and transient acne. But overall, it’s well tolerated.MORE NEWS: Gottlieb Says US Needs New Vaccine Strategy As Pace Of Shots Lags
RINVOQ is approved for arthritis, but can be prescribed off-label for eczema. Approval for eczema may come as early as this summer.