Relief for winter dermatitis in kids

October 16, 2014

What was the impact of daily vitamin D on the symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis in a group of Mongolian children?

 

 

Daily vitamin D treatments significantly improved symptoms of winter-related atopic dermatitis in a group of Mongolian children, a recent study reports.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Health Sciences University of Mongolia conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that enrolled 107 children, aged 2 to 17 years, from 9 outpatient clinics in the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar. All of the children had a history of worsening atopic dermatitis with the onset of winter or in cold weather. They were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: vitamin D (cholecalciferol) supplementation (1000 IU) or placebo each day for a month in the form of colorless, odorless, tasteless drops.

Want more dermatology coverage? Check out our special derm-focused October issue!

The children underwent a standard evaluation of their symptoms at the beginning and end of the study using the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and the Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA; based on 6 categories from clear to very severe). The researchers surmise, in light of data from another contemporaneous study of children in Ulaanbaatar, that many of the children in their study had a baseline vitamin D deficiency.

After a month of treatment, childen in the vitamin D supplement group showed clinically and statistically significant improvement, averaging 29% on EASI compared with the 16% in the placebo group. They also showed marked improvement on the IGA and parental report. Neither group suffered any adverse effects.

The findings support the results of a previous trial by the researchers in 11 Boston children, suggesting that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to exacerbating symptoms of atopic dermatitis in winter. Noting that the improvement in symptoms in the present trial resulted from “inexpensive, safe, and readily available” oral vitamen D supplementation, the researchers conclude that supplementation may offer a safe way to alleviate winter-related atopic dermatitis symptoms without having to expose children to ultraviolet radiation and its risk of skin cancer.  

 

 

To get weekly clinical advice for today's pediatrician, subscribe to the Contemporary Pediatrics PediaMedia.