Flare ups of infected eczema in children are often treated with antibiotics, but the evidence base has not confirmed whether this is effective.
UK researchers carried out a randomised, placebo-controlled trial to explore whether oral antibiotics and antibiotic creams can reduce the severity of infected eczema. The study included 113 children aged eight years or younger who received treatment for one week as well as standard care with steroid creams and emollients.
The team found that, after two weeks, eczema improved in both antibiotic and placebo-treated patients. However, there was no significant difference between the two with respect to patient reported or clinically assessed eczema severity, nor in quality-of-life measures.
Therefore, the researchers conclude in Health Technology Assessment (online, March 2016)
that the majority of children with less severely infected eczema can be managed using topical steroids and emollients.
 Francis NA, Ridd MJ, Thomas-Jones E, et al. A randomised placebo-controlled trial of oral and topical antibiotics for children with clinically infected eczema in the community: the ChildRen with Eczema, Antibiotic Management (CREAM) study. Health Technology Assessment 2016;20(19). doi: 10.3310/hta20190