A SCHOOLGIRL who could not eat or sleep due to her severe eczema has praised an NHS research trial that helped clear up the painful condition.

Honor Stanmore, aged nine, has suffered with eczema since she was four weeks old, but the condition has improved since taking medication for a study at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital.

The Witney resident's inflamed skin had been so bad that she struggled to sleep and was often too tired to attend school.

Her mother, Laura Klee, 36, said: “The lack of sleep has been the biggest killer. She had broken nights from when she was a baby right up until she was seven.

"The bedsheets used to be covered in blood in the morning from where she had been scratching all night.

“Some nights she'd be screaming and pleading for me to help her, so I'd end up giving her a bath or taking her on a drive at 3am just to distract her from itching.

“She still gets anxiety and stomach aches at night time because she associates it with really long, horrible nights where she was awake for hours itching.”

Eczema makes the skin itchy, red, dry and cracked, but scratching can make it worse, potentially disrupting sleep and causing bleeding and infections.

Honor's condition was treated with steroid creams until 2016, when her eczema got more severe and even affected her daily life.

Ms Klee, a home support worker for Age UK, said: “She had eczema all around her mouth, so it was very painful to stretch her mouth open and foods like tomatoes would sting.

She continued: "She itched from the minute she woke up to the minute she went to sleep and became depressed.”

Other children would ask Honor why her face was red and if 'she had chickenpox'.

The nine-year-old added: “It’s really sore and it stings.

"Sometimes it feels like the itch is so deep down in my skin that I can’t get it when I scratch. I had to stop going to dance and swimming classes because of my eczema.”

The Treatment of Severe Atopic Eczema Trial (TREAT) compares two eczema medications - methotrexate and cyclosporine - to see which best treats severe eczema in children.

Honor enrolled on the study in April 2017 and was given methotrexate, which she still uses, despite finishing the trial in January 2018.

The study, which closed in February, was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Ms Klee had previously been wary of methotrexate, but Honor’s condition improved after just three months.

Her mother said: “The trial has completely transformed our lives. Before it was rare that Honor slept through the night, but now we're pretty much guaranteed a good night's sleep.

"Her attendance at school is the best it's ever been and she's going to all of her clubs again.

“You hear about eczema and know its not a particularly nice condition, but I had no idea that it could be life changing. It can ruin people's lives and affect their family's lives.

“The staff have also been amazing and our research nurse, Teena Mackenzie, has gone above and beyond to make sure we’re well looked after.”

Honor added: “It’s sore sometimes if I’ve been scratching but it’s much better and I can live with it now.”

Today is International Clinical Trials Day, with information stands at hospitals in Oxford, Banbury and Faringdon.

The NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre will host an open day from 11.15am to 4pm on Friday 24 May at the John Radcliffe Hospital's Academic Centre.

Information stands for International Clinical Trials Day will be held on Monday 20 May at the following locations:

  • West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, 9am to 3.30pm.
  • League of Friends Cafe, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, 10am to 3pm.
  • League of Friends Cafe, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, 10am to 3pm.
  • Main entrance, Churchill Hospital, Oxford, 10am to 3pm.
  • Horton General Hospital, Banbury, 9am to 11.30am.
  • White Horse Medical Practice, Faringdon 9.30am to 4pm.
  • West Bar Surgery, Banbury, 8am to 12pm