Emollients for prevention of atopic dermatitis: 5-year findings from the BEEP randomized trial

Lucy E. Bradshaw, Laura A. Wyatt, Sara J. Brown, Rachel H. Haines, Alan A. Montgomery, Michael R. Perkin, Sandra Lawton, Tracey H. Sach, Joanne R. Chalmers, Matthew J. Ridd, Carsten Flohr, Joanne Brooks, Richard Swinden, Eleanor J. Mitchell, Stella Tarr, Nicola Jay, Kim S. Thomas, Hilary Allen, Michael J. Cork, Maeve M. KelleherEric l. Simpson, Stella T. Lartey, Susan Davies-Jones, Robert J. Boyle, Hywel C. Williams

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Background: The effectiveness of emollients for preventing atopic dermatitis/eczema is controversial. The Barrier Enhancement for Eczema Prevention trial evaluated the effects of daily emollients during the first year of life on atopic dermatitis and atopic conditions to age 5 years.

Methods: 1394 term infants with a family history of atopic disease were randomized (1:1) to daily emollient plus standard skin-care advice (693 emollient group) or standard skin-care advice alone (701 controls). Long-term follow-up at ages 3, 4 and 5 years was via parental questionnaires. Main outcomes were parental report of a clinical diagnosis of atopic dermatitis and food allergy.

Results: Parents reported more frequent moisturizer application in the emollient group through to 5 years. A clinical diagnosis of atopic dermatitis between 12 and 60 months was reported for 188/608 (31%) in the emollient group and 178/631 (28%) in the control group (adjusted relative risk 1.10, 95% confidence interval 0.93 to 1.30). Although more parents in the emollient group reported food reactions in the previous year at 3 and 4 years, cumulative incidence of doctor-diagnosed food allergy by 5 years was similar between groups (92/609 [15%] emollients and 87/632 [14%] controls, adjusted relative risk 1.11, 95% confidence interval 0.84 to 1.45). Findings were similar for cumulative incidence of asthma and hay fever.

Conclusions: Daily emollient application during the first year of life does not prevent atopic dermatitis, food allergy, asthma or hay fever.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1006
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date19 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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