Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy that may help treat eczema, a common condition that leads to rough, inflamed, cracked, and itchy skin. But some people question the effectiveness of this treatment approach.

Eczema affects an estimated 31.6 million people in the United States.

According to a recent 2023 study that collected data from 14 countries, about 6% of children and adolescents are currently experiencing eczema symptoms. When people use the term “eczema,” they are often referring to atopic dermatitis, which is the most common type.

Currently, no standard cure exists for eczema. Doctors usually recommend several medications to treat symptoms. Common medications include:

Researchers suggest that allergy shots may also be an effective remedy for eczema.

Let’s explore the possibility of treating eczema with allergy shots and the side effects of this treatment method.

Different factors can cause eczema, including environmental allergens and food allergies. According to a 2017 research review, studies indicate allergy shots may help treat this condition.

Allergy shots, also known as allergen immunotherapy or allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT), are long-term treatments commonly used for conditions like conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, and allergic rhinitis.

Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy because they work like cancer vaccines. They contain small allergens that medical professionals inject so your immune system can recognize them and develop immunity or tolerance to them.

A 2023 review of studies showed with moderate certainty that allergen immunotherapy — particularly the one that targets house dust mites, a common allergen — may help improve eczema severity. But one clinical implication of this research is that allergen immunotherapy may cause adverse reactions severe enough to stop treatment.

A study from 2015 notes that SIT may cause a more significant improvement in eczema if the treatment is carried out for a minimum of 3 years.

Despite the promising results from these studies, there are still controversies surrounding the use of allergy shots for eczema. One review of studies from 2016 states that the quality of evidence is low, and the review shows no evidence that SIT is an effective treatment for atopic dermatitis.

More studies need to be carried out using quality allergen formulations. Research is also needed to determine whether the benefits of allergy shots outweigh the risks, particularly for children and people who are pregnant.

Using immunotherapy, such as allergy shots, for treating eczema may cause side effects like:

  • itchy red welts or round rashes on the skin (urticaria)
  • redness and itching at the injection site
  • itchy skin (pruritus)
  • a life threatening reaction to the allergy shot (anaphylaxis)
  • reddish skin reactions that resemble eczema (eczematous eruptions)

If you have chronic eczema, have tried other treatment options, and are thinking of trying allergy shots, you can speak with a doctor.

Allergists or immunologists are specialists who focus on immunotherapy, and a primary care doctor may refer you to one.

There is no cure for eczema at this time, but treatments are available to help manage the condition, reduce flare-ups, and relieve symptoms.

Treatments include:

  • topical medications to relieve symptoms, including corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, and JAK inhibitors
  • biologics like dupilumab and tralokinumab-ldrm to reduce inflammation
  • immune system suppressants, such as cyclosporine, azathioprine, and methotrexate
  • antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that may occur at the same time
  • phototherapy, which is effective for treating eczema in both adults and children
  • practicing a skin care routine that involves bathing, applying barrier-repairing moisturizers, and being gentle with the skin

People commonly ask these questions about eczema:

Is there a shot for eczema?

Dupilumab is an injectable prescription medication prescribed to treat moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults and children ages 6 months or older when their condition is not adequately managed with topical prescription medications or when other treatments are not advised by a doctor.

The shot is given once every 4 weeks to children ages 6–11 years and once every 2 weeks to those 12 years and older.

Does Dupixent work for eczema?

Dupixent is the brand-name version of dupilumab and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating moderate to severe eczema.

This medication is a biologic, meaning that it’s a human-made protein that contains components of living organisms.

It works by stopping the action of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation — which health experts believe causes eczema.

Eczema is a common skin condition that causes rough, red, and itchy patches of skin. It affects both adults and children, and it has no cure. Yet treatments can help manage the condition.

Some scientific evidence suggests that allergy shots can potentially be helpful in treating this condition. But this treatment approach is not yet FDA-approved for eczema, and it requires more in-depth research on its effectiveness, risks, and dosage.