The guidelines aim to provide advice on the management of hand eczema (HE), using an evidence- and consensus-based approach. The guidelines consider a systematic Cochrane review on interventions for HE, which is based on a systematic search of the published literature (including hand-searching). In addition to the evidence- and consensus-based recommendation on the treatment of HE, the guidelines cover mainly consensus-based diagnostic aspects and preventive measures (primary and secondary prevention). Treatment recommendations include non-pharmacological interventions, topical, physical and systemic treatments. Topical corticosteroids are recommended as first line treatment in the management of HE, however continuous long-term treatment beyond six weeks only when necessary and under careful medical supervision. Alitretinoin is recommended as a second line treatment (relative to topical corticosteroids) for patients with severe chronic HE. Randomized control trials (RCT) are missing for other used systemic treatments and comparison of systemic drugs in “head-to-head” RCTs are needed.
The guidelines development group is a working group of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis (ESCD) and has carefully tried to reconcile opposite views, define current optimal practice and provide specific recommendations, and meetings have been chaired by a professional moderator of the AWMF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften; Association of the Scientific Medical Societies in Germany).
No financial support was given by any medical company. The guidelines are expected to be valid until December 2017 at the latest.