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Press Release

What’s the best treatment for hand eczema?
Press release date15/05/2017
A UK-wide trial which aims to work out which is the best treatment for hand eczema is being coordinated by researchers from the University of Leeds and currently being performed at Leicester’s Hospitals.
Press release

Hand eczema is a skin condition which affects up to 10% of the UK population. Symptoms include redness, itching, pain, dryness and blisters.

The trial aims to work out which is the most effective hand eczema treatment in people over 18 who have failed to respond to steroid creams. The treatments to be compared in the trial are the tablet treatment Alitretinoin and an ultraviolet light therapy called PUVA, where the hands are exposed to ultra violet (UV) light after they have been soaked in a special solution.

Both of these treatments are used by doctors in standard clinical practice. However, there is no clear evidence indicating which is most effective in treating different types of hand eczema. This study will directly compare these two treatments to examine:

  • - how well the hands heal with the treatment in the short term
  • - how well the hands heal with the treatment in the longer term
  • - how long the skin can remain clear once healed
  • - which of these two treatments is most effective in treating which types of hand eczema.


Kelsey Greet, of Braunstone, Leicester, is a patient participating in the research trial. She said: “I’m a chef, so having hand eczema affects me massively. I struggle to do my job with the pain. I agreed to take part in the study as I hope to regain a bit of normality.”

Dr Graham Johnston, Consultant Dermatologist at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: “We are very pleased to be part of the ALPHA trial team. This is an important NIHR-funded study because it will help identify the most effective treatment for severe hand eczema.”

Dermatology Research Nurse, Sophie Devine, added: “The team is really excited to be part of a clinical research project that can offer our patients further chances to find solutions to what can be a very long-standing and debilitating condition.”

The trial, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, is being led by Leeds’ Clinical Trials Research Unit with colleagues from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Miriam Wittmann, Associate Professor in Inflammatory Skin Diseases in the School of Medicine at the University of Leeds, said: “We know how many people really struggle in their everyday lives due to hand eczema, but we do not know definitively which the best treatment to use is.

“This research aims to give patients and clinicians a clear message about which treatment works for them.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the trial can visit the ALPHA website at http://ow.ly/TJiJN


Contact information:
Contact information
For media enquiries, please contact:

Rachael Dowling
Research Communications Manager
Leicester’s Hospitals
t: 0116 258 4971
e: rachael.dowling@uhl-tr.nhs.uk
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