Helping patients with chronic hand eczema

It is a condition that can make the simplest of day to day tasks difficult and painful.

Patients with chronic hand eczema have been taking part in a research study at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to help establish the most effective treatment for their condition.

The hospital is one of the top recruiters in the country to the ALPHA trial, which is testing the effectiveness of two common treatments for hand eczema.

Twenty patients at NNUH have so far joined the research study, which is being co-ordinated by the Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research, and involves participants having their hands exposed to ultra violet light or taking the drug Alitretinoin.

The trial, which is a multi-disciplinary team effort involving doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the phototherapy department at NNUH and Cromer Hospital, aims to get clear evidence on which is the most effective treatment for patients with hand eczema. It is funded and supported by the National Institute for Health Research.

Anne-Marie Skellett, Consultant Dermatologist at NNUH, said: “People with the most severe hand eczema can find it painful to touch anything and it has a huge impact on their lives. It can make everyday tasks very difficult. Some patients wear cotton gloves to try and avoid coming into contact with things which may irritate their skin and the skin on their fingers cracking.”

“We have recruited up to and exceeded our target, but we are still recruiting patients on to the study through our Dermatology Out-patient clinics, some GP surgeries and through Occupational Health at the Trust.”

“In general, patients are keen to be part of the study and want to help other people. They are usually more than willing to come in for visits as part of the study.”

Patients who take part in the trial will see a dermatologist every month for a year and their quality of life will be assessed during and after their participation in the study.

The ALPHA trial compares Alitretinoin with PUVA therapy in patients aged 18 years and over with severe hand eczema which is not controlled after four weeks of regular potent steroid creams.

For more information, visit https://ctru.leeds.ac.uk/alpha/

Monday 9th of September 2019 10:24:44 AM