Efficacy and functionality of silver-coated textiles in patients with atopic eczema

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Abstract

Background

Microbial skin colonization with Staphylococcus aureus is known to play an important role in atopic eczema (AE). Recently, an antibacterial effect of silver-coated textiles on S. aureus colonization has been demonstrated.

Objectives

To investigate clinical efficacy and functionality of silver-coated textiles in AE, a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted.

Patients/methods

From November 2001 to August 2002, 68 consecutive outpatients clinically diagnosed with generalized AE were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were the clinical diagnosis of AE with a moderate severity as measured by the scoring of atopic dermatitis (SCORAD) index with at least 20. Patients were instructed to wear either silver-coated (verum, 35 patients + 2 dropouts) or cotton garments (placebo, 22 patients + 9 dropouts) directly on the skin for 2 weeks. Only basic skin care and ongoing therapy with topical steroids or oral antihistamines was permitted. Clinical severity was assessed using the ‘SCORAD’ before, during and at the end of study. Quality of life (QOL), wearing comfort (WC) and functionality (FU) of study clothes were measured in parallel. Patients documented their subjective and objective symptoms daily.

Results

In the verum group, eczema improved significantly after 1 week with further enhancement until the end of study (P = 0.03 and P < 0.001). Silver-coated textiles were comparable to cotton in WC and FU. Pruritus and self-assigned skin condition improved significantly more than with placebo (P < 0.001 and P = 0.003).

Conclusions

In conclusion, silver-coated textiles are able to improve objective and subjective symptoms of AE significantly within 2 weeks, showing a good wearing comfort and functionality comparable to cotton.

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