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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : April 2005
some patients, though more studies are needed.’ VRI Biomedical is developing an ongoing clinical program in association with Associate Professor Prescott. Associate Professor Prescott said that it was important that any existing treatment be maintained, but concomitant use of proTract for Atopic Dermatitis, especially due to its terrific safety profile, was worth a try and recommending to appropriate patients. ProTract for Atopic Dermatitis is suitable for infants older than six months and children suffering from mild-to-severe atopic dermatitis. Understanding atopic dermatitis The precise aetiology of atopic dermatitis is unknown, but current theories centre on a disordered immune system, especially an imbalance of cytokines. T-helper cells, in addition to immunoglobulin E (IgE) and eosinophils, also play a major role in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis.2 The dermatitis results from the complex activation of mast cells, T-lymphocytes, Langerhans cells, monocytes, IgE production by B-cells and other inflammatory mediators.3 It has been believed, therefore, that the use of probiotics might positively impact on atopic dermatitis due to the role that such bacteria play in helping to mature type 1 T-helper cell (Th1) immune responses, and inhibit the predisposition for allergic type 2 T-helper cells responses and allergic IgE antibody production.2 How proTract for Atopic Dermatitis works Although the direct mode of action with proTract is not yet fully understood, it is believed to be mediated by immunological effects that are initiated in the gastrointestinal mucosa.1 It is well documented that, with atopic dermatitis, there is a reduction in the number of T-cells present.2 PCC Lactobacillus fermentumhas been documented to specifically adhere to and stimulate the Peyer’s Patches4 (or immune sampling sites) in the gastrointestinal mucosa, resulting in an alteration of the cytokine profiles and increased cell-mediated activities.4,5 Lactobacillus fermentumhas also been demonstrated to potentially alter the IgE levels, which is an important factor among atopic diseases.6 PCC Furthermore, there is accumulating evidence that PCC Lactobacillus fermentumplays a role in shifting the TH1/TH2 balance involved in atopic diseases.7 Interaction at this level may explain the clinical outcomes and continuing benefits proTract may provide after the completion of an eight-week program. *VRI Biomedical is currently in the process of changing the company name to Probiomics. THE BURDEN OF ATOPIC DERMATITIS A TOPIC dermatitis affects between 9 and 12 per cent of the population, is more common in infancy and childhood, and has increased in incidence over the past 30 years.8 Of approximately 30 per cent of pre- school children (0–5 years) and 16 per cent of school children (6–18 years) with dermatitis, 59 per cent suffer from mild, 34 per cent moderate and 2 per cent suffer from severe atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is believed to have more impact on families than diabetes.9 The direct costs to the family include medications, dressings, diet, naturopathy and average at $330 for mild, $818 for moderate and $1,255 for severe atopic dermatitis. The total cost to families including the indirect cost of time off work averaged $480 for mild, $1,712 for moderate and $2,545 for severe atopic dermatitis.9 A child with severe atopic dermatitis would make a yearly average of 23 visits to doctors (seven for mild and 13 for moderate) with 50 per cent being a general practitioner and others including paediatricians, allergists and dermatologists.9 Contact your local APCO representative for the best prices, exciting point-of-sale and educational material. APCO brokers—1800 806 873 REFERENCES 1. Prescott S (2004) Effects of probiotics on atopic dermatitis: a randomised controlled trial. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Accepted for publication. (Data on file). 2. Neaville WA, Tisler C, Bhattacharya A, et al. (2003) Developmental cytokine response profiles and the clinical and immunologic expression of atopy during the first year of life. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 112(4):740–746. 3. Heuther SE, McCance KL (2000) Understanding Pathophysiology 2nd ed. CV Mosby Co., St Louis, p 1101–1102. 4. Kang S (2005) Differential cytokine patterns in the Peyer's patches and spleen of Balb/c mice fed with L.fermentum VRI 003 and L.fermentum LMG. (Data on file) VRI Internal 1. 5. Conway PL (2004) Effects of probiotic administration to reduce respiratory tract infection on elite athletes. (Data on file) VRI RR 1005. 6. Conway P, Collier P (2003) Compositions and methods for treatment of skin diseases. Australian Patent application No. 2003245473. 7. Amansec S (2005) Lactobacillus fermentum PCC ameliorates murine colitis by changing the nature of the mucosal immune response. (Data on file). 8. Marks R, Plunkett A, Merlin K, Jenner N (1999) Atopic dermatitis (Eczema). Atlas of common skin diseases in Australia. Department of Dermatology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, p12–15. 9. Su JC, Kemp AS, Varigos GA Nolan TM (1997) Atopic eczema: its impact on the family and financial cost. Archives of Disease in Childhood 76:159–162. THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.86 APRIL 2005 ? 237