To evaluate the effects of dietary eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in children with atopic dermatitis.
Forty-eight children with atopic dermatitis were randomly allocated to receive either 250 mg twice daily EPA (n = 24) or placebo (n = 24) for 4 weeks. The absolute improvement in the SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index and the necessity to use topical corticosteroids was evaluated.
Based on an intention-to-treat analysis, after 2 weeks the scores decreased to 30.50 ± 8.91 and 38.34 ± 10.52 in the EPA and placebo groups, respectively (p = 0.015). Per-protocol analysis showed a decrease in scores to 18.01 ± 10.63 in the EPA group and to 30.11 ± 9.58 in the placebo group (p = 0.001). After 2 weeks, corticosteroid was needed in 11 (50.0%) patients in the EPA group and 14 (58.3%) patients in the placebo group (p = 0.571), and after 4 weeks, it was needed in 7 (33.3%) patients in the EPA group and 14 (63.6%) patients in the placebo group, respectively (p = 0.047).
Our results show significant favorable effects of EPA on the SCORAD scale and with regard to the necessity for corticosteroid readministration. Few adverse effects were reported in the 2 groups. We conclude that EPA supplementation is a well-tolerated and effective add-on strategy for reducing the severity of atopic dermatitis in children.