Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic pruritic inflammatory skin condition that is treated mostly with topical anti-inflammatory medications during exacerbations. Without any cure in sight, a sizable number of patients choose complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an adjuvant to traditional treatment. Many doctors find it challenging to provide recommendations since the discipline encompasses a wide range of therapy with inadequate quality data to support efficacy. Several new studies have emerged since the publication of the last review on this issue in the Journal in 2015, which collated and assessed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on CAMs. An update to that research was required to compile and analyze the new data.

From March 2015 to May 2018, a literature search was conducted in the PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Global Resource for EczemA Trials (GREAT) databases for RCTs on complementary and alternative therapies in AD, resulting in 15 studies being included in the review. Many therapies, including vitamin E, East Indian Sandalwood Oil (EISO), melatonin, L-histidine, and Manuka honey, have tentative good clinical benefits, but there is presently insufficient data to support their use in AD therapy. 

Future research should aim at replicating some of these studies with a bigger sample size whose clinical features and demographics are more representative of the overall Alzheimer’s disease population, as well as standardizing the procedure to create accurate results.