Suitable over-the-counter medications for eczema

Eczema covers various skin conditions that cause reddish, itchy and irritated rashes all over the body. This is usually found among children who tend to outgrow it by the time they reach adulthood, but some still suffer from the condition throughout their lives.

For severe cases of eczema, they are managed with prescribed steroid creams after a doctor is consulted. Mild cases of eczema can be prevented, treated and maintained with non-prescription medications. It is not advisable to use any medication to manage eczema without the recommendation given by the doctor.

Possible causes

There is no known cause for eczema. In most cases, the skin condition is instigated by various factors including irritants, allergies and dry skin. Remember that eczema is an allergic reaction in which the immune system has an erratic response which involves the release of antibodies and histamine that starts a flare-up. By identifying the potential triggers for an outbreak, the suitable medication can be given by the doctor.


Hydrocortisone cream or ointment or diphenhydramine are highly effective in minimizing the swelling and itchiness caused by eczema.

Topical approach

Hydrocortisone cream or ointment or diphenhydramine are highly effective in minimizing the swelling and itchiness caused by eczema. It is important to note that hydrocortisone cream is a mild steroid-based cream that helps reduce the itchiness and swelling. As for diphenhydramine, it is a topical variant of the oral medication utilized for localized symptoms of an allergic reaction. It is not recommended to use diphenhydramine topical cream while using the oral form since it can lead to an overdose.

Oral approach

Oral antihistamines are utilized to prevent and maintain eczema due to allergies such as mold, pollen or animal dander. These orally taken medications are available in single, daily dosages that last for 24 hours and works by blocking the ability of the body to release histamine. They are only effective if the outbreak of eczema is due to allergens.

Considerations to bear in mind

The over-the-counter medications utilized to manage eczema must be used along with natural lifestyle measures. One is to keep the skin properly moisturized with lotion. Other measures include avoidance of harsh detergents and soaps, avoiding potential triggers and avoid bathing too often since this leads to dry skin.  In case eczema does not improve with the use of non-prescription medications, a doctor should be consulted for other treatment options.

Using over-the-counter antihistamines can lead to severe drowsiness. The individual should avoid operating heavy machinery or drive a motor vehicle while using an oral antihistamine since this can lead to drowsiness. Before using any over-the-counter medication, a doctor should be consulted to determine if it can be used. Remember that some over-the-counter medications have the tendency to interact with other medications which leads to complications.


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