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Contact Dermatitis Drugs

Contact Dermatitis Drugs

Contact dermatitis is a reaction of the skin when it touches something that causes inflammatory reaction or a rash. The rash may not appear immediately. Sometimes there is a delay. The dermatitis can be an allergic reaction or a reaction to an irritant. Your doctor will be able to determine what kind of contact dermatitis it is by your history and a clinical exam. They will then be able to decide on appropriate treatment.


There are some very easy ways to help treat contact dermatitis. Not all of them include medication or topical creams. Treatment may involve avoiding known allergens or irritants. This will prevent the worsening of the condition and avoid causing a new reaction. Another easy treatment includes cool compresses with saline on the affected area and dressing it to prevent further reactions. Sometimes over-the-counter antihistamines may be recommended for allergic contact dermatitis.

There are some prescription medications that can be used to treat contact dermatitis. Corticosteroids may be given. They will be either topical or oral depending on the situation. These include triamcinolone or betamethasone cream. Oral corticosteroids like prednisone may be prescribed for more severe contact dermatitis.

Symptoms also guide treatment. A prescription antihistamine may be used for people with severe itching. This includes hydroxyzine or diphenhydramine. The over-the-counter drugs may not be as effective for more severe itching. Dressings that go from wet-to-dry can help with blisters and aid in healing the skin.

Discuss Options With Your Doctor

Your doctor will be able to work with you to find an appropriate treatment depending on your individual situation and the extent of your dermatitis. Sometimes the treatment may only be observation. Talk with your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing and whether they get worse during treatment. 

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Sep 29, 2014: George Krucik, MD, MBA

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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