Eczema Associated with Certain Blood Pressure Medications

Do you have a chronic, itchy rash?

For most patients in winter, eczema is the result of dry, cold air — a condition called asteatotic eczema. It is common and can occur in people from Boston to San Diego.

For some elderly patients, however, chronic eczema can be caused by a blood pressure medication. A new study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that patients on calcium channel blockers (CCBs) were more likely to have eczema than those who were not taking these blood pressure pills. They also found that the skin rash resolved in 68% of patients who stopped their CCB.

Blood pressure pills should never be changed without consulting your physician. If you have a skin rash and are on a CCB, then discuss this with your physician.

Calcium channel blocker (CCB) medications include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), nicardipine (Cardene), bepridil (Vascor), isradipine (Dynacirc), nimodipine (Nimotop), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), diltiazem (Cardizem), and verapamil (Calan, Isoptin).

Clothes to Soothe Itchy Skin

Just the mention of a wool sweater makes me itchy. For many people with chronic itchy skin conditions such as eczema, irritating fabrics like wool and polyester can trigger itching over their whole body. Now some (entrepreneurial) dermatologists have developed clothes designed to protect the skin.

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The Benabio Guaranteed* 2008 Acne Cure (*If You Use It, That Is)

Do you use Proactiv®? Many of my acne patients have tried it. Some felt it helped, others felt it didn’t. Proactiv was developed by two dermatologists; its success lies not in the actual product but in the way they have you use it.

It is an absolute truth that almost any acne treatment works and almost every acne treatment fails. It depends on one thing: Do you actually use it?

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Coming Soon: At Home Laser Hair Removal

Hair removal is big business with sales in the billions of dollars. Now there is a new laser (currently undergoing FDA scrutiny) that will provide a safe way for women to do laser hair removal at home. Dr. Tina Alster conducted a study of 20 women who underwent treatment of underarm, forearm, bikini, and leg hair removal. The women had hair reduction of 40-75% after 3-4 treatments performed at 2-week intervals. The results were apparently better on the legs as compared to the underarms and bikini area.

The Silk’n hair removal device made by HomeSkinovations, Ltd. is expected to cost about $800 – similar to a laser hair treatment in a dermatologist’s office.

Severe Psoriasis Linked to Increased Risk of Death

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder characterized by red skin lesions often covered by a thick silvery scale. It affects as many as 7.5 million Americans. The severity of the disease varies markedly: some people don’t even notice that they are affected, others have widespread, debilitating disease.

We have known for years that psoriasis has a significant impact on people’s quality of life; new research indicates it might actually shorten their lives.

People with severe psoriasis had a 50 percent increased risk of death compared with people without the inflammatory skin disease …. Men with severe psoriasis died an average of 3.5 years earlier than men without the condition, while women with severe psoriasis died 4.4 years earlier than women without psoriasis.

The reason for this increased risk of death is not clear. It might be that the same chronic inflammation that underlies the skin lesions and the arthritis in psoriasis patients might also lead to increased inflammation in their cardiovascular system. If you have psoriasis, then resolve in the new year to take control of your health — eat a healthy diet, exercise, and see your internist regularly.

If you are a physician and have patients with psoriasis, then you should check their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars regularly; consider them a high risk for cardiovascular complications.