Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common skin disorder associated with allergies, characterized by a very itchy rash, with a scaly, dry appearance. There are many causes, with significant discomfort and suffering, especially in children, more frequently than adults. Serious infections can develop if the skin is not treated or if itching and scratching is not controlled. There is no known cure for eczema, but it can usually be controlled with proper treatment.
Eczema is a complicated, multi-faceted condition related to stress, anxiety, weather, or allergies. No single therapeutic substance or practice, including avoiding allergens, seems to control eczema. Skin care is vital, including moisture, using medications as required and avoiding skin irritation resulting in “contact-dermatitis” from textiles, or sunburn. Successfully managing this complex condition requires a multi-faceted, synergistic approach. The multi-faceted aspects of eczema involve the complexity of the human immune system, its numerous biochemical responses, as well as consideration of bioavailability of substances in terms of absorption and transport to reach their target “destinations”.
One part of the complex human immune system involves “mast cells”, which can release many different immune signaling and mediating substances such as histamine, leukotrienes (LTs), prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), proteolytic enzymes, multifunctional cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, IL-13, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thus, some therapeutic agents may be effective in controlling histamine release from mast cells, for example, while other agents may best control some of the other factors. Contact dermatitis and photosensitivity are conditions involving non-immune triggers such as substance P (SP), and do not respond to conventional immune system mediation or treatment with common allergy medicines. A synergistic formulation for topical application will control other factors related to eczema, such as substance P (SP). Any therapeutic regime should address other aspects, such as inflammation, pain, and itching.
For active substances, especially hydrophilic molecules, which are above 500-600 Daltons, (500-600 g/mole) to pass through the lipophilic strata corneum layer of the skin, a suitable “carrier” in the formulation should increase transport and bioavailability of the active substances. This can be a simple admixture in the formulation, or “chemically complexed” with active substances without diminishing their effectiveness. DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) can readily transport higher molecular weight and even hydrophilic compounds such as cromolyn, so, DMSO is the preferred carrier for the formulation contemplated here. Transport of cromolyn across the stratum corneum can be increased by DMSO, as well as other combined flavonoids (quercetin and Astragulus), forming a synergistic formulation, making both cromolyn and other flavonoids more bio-available, with significant consequences in efficacy in treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). This proposal contemplates a synergistic formulation of 1) FDA-approved DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), as the preferred carrier, which also reduces inflammation, pain and itching, 2) FDA-approved disodium cromolyn, used previously for asthma, mastocytosis, and atopic dermatitis, 3) Quercetin, an anti-inflammatory flavonoid with mast cell regulation effects, 4) Astragulus membranaceus extract, with multiple flavonoids having significant anti-inflammatory effects against atopic dermatitis, 5) Fractionated coconut oil as a soothing emollient.
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