Treatment of Hyperkeratotic Dermatitis of the Palms (Eczema Keratoticum) with Oral Acitretin. A Single-blind Placebo-controlled Study
Hyperkeratotic dermatitis of the palms - also called eczema keratoticum - is a chronic, sometimes disabling condition in middle-aged persons. We carried out a single-blind, placebocontrolled study using acitretin in 29 patients. Fourteen patients received active therapy (30mg acitretin daily) and 15 placebo. All had hyperkeratotic changes of the palms with painful fissures and most had involvement of the volar aspects of their fingers. Approximately half of the patients had similar plantar changes. A semi-quantitative score of six parameters was used: hyperkeratosis, fissuring, scaling, itch, redness and vesicle count. After 4 weeks of treatment, a 51 % reduction of all symptoms was observed among patients receiving acitretin (p < 0.01) compared with a 9 % reduction in the placebo group (p > 0.05). No further improvement was seen over another 4 weeks of treatment. There were no changes in blood biochemistry, including serum lipids. No patients discontinued therapy because of side effects. We conclude that 30mg of acitretin is efficacious and safe to use in patients with hyperkeratotic dermatitis of the palms.