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What’s the best treatment for hand eczema? Help researchers find out.

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A UK-wide trial to work out which is the best treatment for chronic hand eczema is being coordinated by researchers from the University of Leeds.

The ALPHA 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.

It 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.

Although both of these treatments are used in standard clinical practice, there is no clear evidence indicating which is the more effective in treating different types of hand eczema. This study will directly compare the 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 remains clear once healed

• which of the two treatments is more effective in treating which types of hand eczema.

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

You can watch a video with more information here.

The trial is being run at a number of sites across the country, including Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate, with other sites planned to open in the near future.

If you are interested in taking part, you will find information about whether you might be suitable and which hospitals the trial is being run at in the patient zone on the ALPHA website here.


This trial has now concluded. See the results here.

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