GSK Korea said Tuesday a fast and accurate treatment is needed to cure chronic hand eczema, promoting Alitoc, its medicine for moderate to severe chronic hand eczema.
|Professor Ahn Ji-young of the National Medical Center explains the importance of treating chronic hand eczema, during a news conference at the IFC Tower in Yeouido, Seoul, on Tuesday.|
"Chronic severe hand eczema is an illness that accompanies pain, hotness, or tingling caused by inflammation of the hands," Professor Ahn Ji-young from the department of dermatology at the National Medical Center said in the news conference. "It is important to treat chronic hand eczema at an early stage as many patients with chronic severe hand eczema experience a lack of sleep due to pain and itching."
Also, many patients experience depression or anxiety as well as experience a drop in self-esteem, she added.
Ahn cited research published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology where nine out of 10 patients with chronic severe hand eczema felt ashamed of their symptoms, stressing the need for swift treatment of the disease.
“Some patients even have to endure suspicions of other people about the disease being transmittable,” she said. “Our study also showed that a quarter of chronic severe hand eczema patients experienced the disease affect their social relationships.”
In occupational activities, 12 percent of patients had to take sick leave for five consecutive weeks, also affecting their career accumulation, she added. Ahn stressed that while hand eczema is often thought to occur during the winter season, the disease causes more problems during the summer.
"This is because patients with chronic severe hand eczema are more prone to suffer from itching in summer due to the hot weather," she said. "Hand eczema has several criteria for classification, and some of the classifications such as hyperkeratinization and blistering are frequent during summer."
According to Ahn, one in 10 people around the globe suffers from the disease at least once.
"Of the total, 5 to 7 percent are presumed to be patients with chronic severe hand eczema, and more than 60 percent are refractory to topical steroid therapy, which is the primary treatment," she said. "It is important to switch as quickly as possible to Alitoc if the patient shows no response to the topical steroid therapy."
Alitoc is a retinoid-based vitamin A derivative involved in the growth and differentiation of keratinocytes and reports retinoid receptors that bind both retinoic acid receptors and retinoid X receptor nuclear receptors. It is also the only oral chronic eczema treatment, she added.
GSK has confirmed the drug's safety and efficacy through BACH clinical trial, which compared 1,032 patients with severe chronic hand eczema registered in 111 centers in Europe and Canada.
"As a result of the trial, patients who took Alitoc 30mg or 10 mg had their symptoms ‘cleared’ or ‘almost cleared ’were significantly higher than that of the placebo group," Ahn said. "Also, in the Alitoc 30mg group, the symptoms and signs of chronic hand eczema fell by 75 percent, while 66 percent of the patients did not experience recurrence for six months after treatment."