Efficacy of essential fatty acids in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and correlations of their changes with clinical response

Massimiliano Don, P. Melli, F. Braida, A. Comici, E. Barbi, C. Spanò, P. L. Biagi, A. Tenore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives. To evaluate the influence of a drug containing essential fatty acids (EFA) on atopic dermatitis (AD) in children and to find a relationship between EFA levels in erythrocyte ghosts and disease evolution. Methods. Two groups of ten children with AD, taken from our allergology outpatient division, were treated for twelve weeks with an EFA-containing preparation (borage oil) and placebo (olive oil) respectively, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Results. Improved quality of life and skin condition were seen in both groups, although they were more evident in the placebo group. Laboratory data for inflammatory parameters were lower in the placebo group, and unvaried or slightly increased in the treatment group. The analysis of mean EFA concentration showed an increase in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the control group. Conclusions. The use of borage oil did not bring any clinical or laboratory changes compared to the placebo. The intake of EFA n-6, specifically used in the treatment of AD, could be integrated with an adequate amount of EFA n-3, considering its effects on skin inflammation, but this needs to be demonstrated by further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-432
Number of pages6
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003



  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Borage oil
  • Essentials fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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