Colloidal Oatmeal Formulations and the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis

October 2014 | Volume 13 | Issue 10 | Original Article | 1180 | Copyright © October 2014

Joseph F. Fowler Jr. MD FAAD

Division of Dermatology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY

assessing the safety and efficacy of colloidal oat compounds, but on closer scrutiny that study had methodological problems. A pair of the methodological flaws in the French study were that the investigators used oat pollen and not proteins found in colloidal oatmeal when conducting skin prick tests and IgE testing. Oat pollen is unlikely to contain the same proteins that are found in colloidal oatmeal, so an allergic reaction to oat pollen would not be a predictor of an allergy to proteins found in colloidal oatmeal.
Boussault and colleagues also used ATPs at three different concentrations, but the investigators failed to report the subjects’ reactions at the various concentrations, so clinical correlation of allergic reactivity and ATPs is uncertain. The ATP is neither routinely used, nor felt to be of clinical significance in the US. The ROAT was also problematic, because they were conducted in the subjects’ home in an unsupervised manner. Moreover, only 25 of the original 302 subjects had a ROAT performed with an oat-based emollient and only 7 of the subjects had a “positive” test.
In conclusion, the FDA has acknowledged colloidal oatmeal to be a safe and effective skin protectant, and it has been used for decades to treat AD. In the treatment of AD, much of the recognized benefit of oats is derived from its phenolic components, especially avenanthramides, which have empirically demonstrated robust antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Further, the majority of studies on oat-based products, either in atopics or non-atopics, show no propensity toward adverse events. And although rare cases of clinically relevant oat allergy may exist, oat-based products are safe and effective for the treatment of the vast majority of individuals, including pediatric patients.


Joseph F. Fowler Jr. has served as a consultant for Johnson & Johnson, Galderma, Innocutis, and Ranbaxy, and as a speaker for Galderma, Innocutis, and Ranbaxy, and has received research grants from Abbott, Allerderm, Allergan, Amgen, Astellas, Galderma, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Medicis, Novartis, Qunnova, Taro, and Valeant.


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Joseph F. Fowler Jr. MD