Letters to the Editor

Tar Compounds and Atopic Dermatitis



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Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jun 1;61(11):3252.

to the editor: I was surprised that the authors1 of the article on atopic dermatitis recommended consideration of treatment using an oral leukotriene inhibitor (speculative at best!) but failed to include tar compounds (tried-and-true).

I believe the latter compounds are widely underused. This is unfortunate because they are safe and effective, and they also potentiate topical steroids when used in combination therapy, thus allowing a reduction in potent steroid use. Tar compounds are photosensitizing and may stain, but these problems can be minimized when they are applied only at night. These preparations are usually very well tolerated, and some can be added to bath water.

REFERENCE

1. Correale CR, Walker C, Murphy L, Craig TJ. Atopic dermatitis: a review of diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 1999;60:1191–98.

in reply: I agree with Mr. Zimmerman that tar compounds are appropriate intervention for patients with atopic dermatitis. Regrettably, they are very inconvenient to use so I try to avoid them in my practice; nonetheless, they are time tested and proven to be effective. Also, I agree with Mr. Zimmerman that leukotriene inhibitors are speculative at best, and a study needs to be conducted in the double-blind fashion to confirm our suspicions that leukotriene receptor antagonists are beneficial for persons with atopic dermatitis.

Send letters to Kenneth W. Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online, e-mail: afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680.

Please include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the American Academy of Family Physicians permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.



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