Diepgen TL and the Early Treatment of the Atopic Child Study Group. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2002;13:278–286

To analyze the effects of long-term use of cetirizine on the severity, natural history, and treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD).

A total of 795 infants, 12 to 24 months old, with active AD for at least 1 month and 1 parent or sibling with a history of AD, allergic rhinitis, or asthma were enrolled from 12 European countries and Canada.

This was a prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study comparing cetirizine with placebo in infants with AD and a family history of atopy. Systemic corticosteroids, cromoglycate, and oral antihistamines were discontinued; however, topical therapy for AD was continued. After a washout period, participants then received treatment with 0.25 mg/kg of cetirizine or placebo twice daily for 18 months. Follow-up visits were at 1 and 3 months, then every 13 weeks during the 18-month treatment period....

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