SAN ANTONIO - Matthew Castro, a high school senior, has lived with the skin condition eczema for most of his life.
Symptoms of the condition include itching, rash and scarring of the skin. More than 30 million people in the United States are affected by eczema, and 18 million of them have severe cases. There are many treatments on the market to help alleviate the symptoms, but none to treat the condition itself.
A new treatment, soon to be available in San Antonio, gives Castro hope.
"Every day I think about my eczema. When I wake up, when I go out with my friends, when I"m playing sports," said Castro. "It's bothered me and made me insecure about myself."
Matthew's mother, Jennifer Castro, said Matthew was diagnosed when he was just 2 years old. She said it plays a big part in their everyday lives.
"We have to make sure that our house is a certain temperature," she said. "We had to pull up the carpets and get rid of things like that.
"It's constantly dusting, vacuuming, making sure everything is clean," Jennifer Castro said.
Matthew's doctor, Joseph Diaz, medical director of Allergy SA, said the primary symptom of eczema is itching, but with itching comes the scratching and scabbing.
"Once your skin becomes inflamed, (and) irritated, nonspecific things can irritate -- fragrances, creams, even sometimes the oak is high, for example. Allergens are high. Pollen is high. You get worsening of the skin," Diaz said.
Diaz said in the past, patients like Matthew would use topical creams and oral drugs to alleviate the symptoms, but there was never a treatment for eczema until now.
The new treatment, Dupixent, was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration in early April.
"It actually prevents the inflammation and by preventing the inflammation in the skin, it prevents the itch and by preventing the itch, it prevents a lot of the long-term consequences," he said.
Dupixent should be available in San Antonio in the coming weeks.
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