For those of you who watched HBO’s drama ‘The Night Of’, you would have seen one of the many characters, John Stone played by John Turturro suffer from eczema (atopic dermatitis). If you have not seen this mini-series yet, do not worry this blog post contains no spoilers central to the main plot line.
As we have discussed previously, eczema or atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, that causes the skin to become itchy, dry, red and inflamed. John Stone has his eczema predominantly on his feet, but in later episodes he suffers a severe exacerbation that spreads to his whole body. We learned that Mr. Stone has cat allergies and he does later adopt a cat, which could have exacerbated his eczema and also caused him to have an asthma attack. He was also under a lot of stress at the time which is a known factor to exacerbating his atopic dermatitis.
What figured so prominently in ‘The Night Of’ was his visits to his various doctors, dermatologists and alternative medicine practitioners. They all gave different medications and all had different treatment philosophies for treating eczema. There is no standard approach or treatment cure for eczema.
His first doctor gave multiple topical steroids and oral antihistamines to treat his condition, he also recommended to lubricate the affected areas with moisturizers (in his case Crisco) and wrap it with saran wrap. Heavily moisturizing the skin is recommended by most doctors and using occlusive dressings can be greatly beneficial as well for many patients. Unfortunately many patients complain about the stickiness and wearing saran wrap is greatly uncomfortable.
Other recommended treatments by the second doctor he saw was oral prednisone, which clears up the skin in almost all patients, but has severe long term side effects (in his case erectile dysfunction), oral antibiotics, bleach baths and UV light. In a previous blog post we explored these other treatment methods.
Lastly after all the treatments failed, he went to a Chinese herbalist (alternative medicine doctor). We do not know what was exactly prescribed, but it was a powder that he mixed with water. Miraculously, after some time, his eczema cleared up in entirety, but it exacerbated again at the end of the season.
He was seen going to a male support group with people suffering from eczema, as atopic dermatitis can be severely debilitating.
Lastly what ‘The Night Of’ did not cover, is a new medication that will soon be available for eczema sufferers. The show was written several years ago which is most likely the reason it was not discussed. But in 2017 it will most likely be available and it is called Dupilumab (Dupixent), it will be an injection for atopic dermatitis, most likely for those who have moderate to severe eczema. We have discussed dupilumab (Dupixent) at length in previous blog posts.
For those of you who suffer from atopic dermatitis (eczema) consult with your doctor about the best treatment options available for you, for more complex cases you may need to see a dermatologist, allergist or even an alternative medicine practitioner. For those of you who haven’t seen ‘The Night Of’, I highly recommend it.