Novel treatment of chronic severe hand dermatitis with bexarotene gel

J. M. Hanifin, V. Stevens, P. Sheth, D. Breneman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background: Hand dermatitis is an eczematous inflammation of the hands that is related to occupation or to routine activities. It often becomes chronic, and in some patients may become severe and disabling. Topical corticosteroids are effective treatment, particularly for milder forms, but they often lose effectiveness with time and can produce skin atrophy. Objectives: To evaluate bexarotene gel topical therapy for safety, tolerability and efficacy in patients with chronic hand dermatitis. Methods: A phase I-II open-label randomized clinical study of bexarotene gel, alone and in combination with a low- and a mid-potency steroid, was conducted in 55 patients with chronic severe hand dermatitis at two academic clinics. Results: Patients using bexarotene gel monotherapy reached a 79% response rate for ≥50% clinical improvement and a 39% response rate for ≥90% clearance of hands. Adverse events possibly related to treatment in all patients were stinging or burning (15%), flare of dermatitis (16%) and irritation (29%). Thirteen patients (24%) withdrew early, including two for related adverse events and five for inadequate response. Conclusions: Bexarotene gel appears to be safe, tolerated by most patients, with useful therapeutic activity in chronic severe hand dermatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bexarotene
  • Hand eczema
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Rexinoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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