Eczema is very common skin condition affecting one in 20 UK adults. Mild eczema can usually be treated with creams and ointments, but more severe eczema needs systemic treatments (that affect the entire body rather than a specific area) taken by mouth or injection. Ciclosporin is the only licensed standard treatment and methotrexate is the most commonly prescribed standard treatment in the UK.
New systemic treatments have recently been developed for eczema. Dupilumab became available on the NHS in 2019, but so far it has not been compared with the standard systemic treatments already available and commonly used. The BEACON trial is comparing methotrexate and dupilumab to ciclosporin.
The trial involves 402 adults with more severe eczema who need a systemic treatment. Participants will receive ciclosporin as an oral capsule, methotrexate self-injection, or dupilumab self-injection for up to one year. The treatment that each participant receives will be decided at random and there will be no placebo or “dummy” medication involved. Participants will know which treatment they are on but the trained person assessing the eczema will not know to make sure we get a truthful answer on which is best.
Participants will attend between 6 and 14 check-ups at hospital over a year as per normal NHS care. The success of the different treatments will be determined by looking at participants’ skin using a reliable eczema score and by asking participants about things like itching, other symptoms and quality of life. We will collect information about side effects and also see whether the treatments offer value for money for our NHS.
We have set up this trial in such a way that emerging eczema treatments can be efficiently added to the trial in the future.
This trial has been designed in collaboration with eczema patients and the National Eczema Society (NES) and we will make sure that we tell everyone about our results by working with our patient community, NES and the various professional networks that we belong to.
Over 30 hospitals across the UK will be taking part in BEACON, which started recruitment at Guy’s Hospital in December 2023. Please find the updated site map to find your nearest participating hospital (please note some sites may not be confirmed – those in green are open to recruitment).
If you are interested in taking part, please visit the contact form to register your interest and a member of the team will get back to you.