First, Dr. Aron is treating “bad eczema” which is the wrong diagnosis. These patients are not suffering from bad eczema they are suffering from Red Skin Syndrome (RSS) which is the condition resulting from addiction to the topical corticosteroids that they have been using. Second, Dr. Aron’s step-down approach using less and less steroids with wraps is based on an old idea that was repudiated many decades ago called homeopathy. This treatment approach from the 1800’s is based on the assumption that smaller and smaller doses of medication over time stimulates the body to cure itself and that particles or remnants of the drug will finally cause an end to the disease.
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Another remedy from Dr. Aron’s cookbook, a daily antibiotic applied under wraps coupled with the corticosteroid, is based on his belief that all patients are infected. This is completely untrue and unproven. All patients have staphylococcus on their skin that are only colonizing the skin but not infecting the skin. There is no associated heat, pain, or pus – therefore no clinical infection – yet Dr. Aron suggests the whole body is infected! Third, as I mentioned above a topical steroid is applied to the whole body followed by wet wraps that will allow “better penetration.” The treatment continues with daily to monthly lessening of the steroid strength (homeopathy). He then pronounces the patient “cured” despite continual possibly life-long steroid wraps. This is not a cure – on the contrary it is a treatment that treats a non-existent infection with antibiotics, feeds the steroid addiction with topical steroids, perpetuates Red Skin Syndrome, and increases the possibility of more red flares later.
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Body-wrapping with steroids has been used by the Denver Jewish Hospital for a long period of time as standard therapy. Several Denver mothers who allowed this treatment to be performed on their children contacted me three years ago to help them in a potential lawsuit against the hospital for misrepresenting the treatment and making their children worse with this remedy. Yet, there are physicians in Chicago who are working with the National Eczema Association strongly advocating this method on the NEA website. There has been no data on long-term follow-up.
I read Dr. Aron’s booklet describing fifty “cured patients.” There are numerous failures but they are not discussed. All the patients are pictured but, like the Denver patients, there is no long term follow-up. This fifty patient booklet might have been “new” in 1950 when steroids were first introduced to the marketplace, but this is no longer a breakthrough since these are addicted patients now not simple eczema ones.
Just like so many other times in medicine, old discarded techniques and failed remedies come to the fore again resuscitated by new doctors suggesting a “new” approach. The failures that were learned a few years before are forgotten or disregarded. These new practitioners dismiss the negatives by saying that the old practitioners made mistakes or misinterpreted the data. Invariably the new attempts also give negative results.
Our RSS patients do not have “bad eczema,” they are steroid addicted and the continuation of steroids in lower and lower doses just perpetuates the addiction. False hope will again crush the emotions of these suffering patients. There is no way that “only a little more” for “a long time” will help the problem. Absolutely total cessation of steroids is the only cure.