On Friday, March 22, 2019, Briana Banos fulfilled her multi-year dream of releasing her documentary “Preventable: Protecting our largest organ” a magnum opus exploring the world of Topical Steroid Addiction/Withdrawal (TSA/TSW) and Red Skin Syndrome (RSS).
With over 12,000 views in just four days, “Preventable” has struck a chord with the skin condition community. Banos tells her own heart-wrenching story while providing an honest and respectful examination of the use (and misuse) of topical corticosteroids.
“This documentary has been a long time coming,” says Banos. “I pray that it transforms into a powerful platform where our voices are heard in the hopes of changing the way topical steroids are prescribed. No one should have to suffer through such debilitation from a drug that should be helping, not hurting, us. As we, patients and doctors, work together, I know we can turn this reoccurring horror into history.”
Sharing the stories of several TSW warriors from around the globe, Banos’ documentary offers a poignant look at the consequences of topical steroid overuse. Of course, stopping there wouldn’t serve her ultimate goal of stricter use guidelines, so she circumnavigated the globe, interviewing several experts including NEA’s own board member and champion, Dr. Peter Lio, who was part of our 2015 Scientific Advisory Committee Task Force that conducted a systematic review of topical corticosteroid withdrawal/addiction.
“Now, more than ever, we must work to better understand how to make sure there are no new cases of TSW ever again,” Lio says. “Until we have better options than topical steroids, for now, this must mean respectful and careful use with more research and education to prevent this terrible outcome.”
NEA has been working closely with the International Topical Steroid Addiction Network (ITSAN) for many years, counting its current president, Kelly Barta, among our strongest champions in the eczema community.
“ITSAN is exceedingly grateful to Briana Banos for creating this powerful documentary that represents our entire community and the difficult nature of Topical Steroid Withdrawal so well,” Barta says. “‘Preventable’ depicts the shocking severity of this condition, the wide demographic of those it affects, and the great need for more awareness and help for those suffering.”
As NEA continues to support our eczema community, we recognize the crisis point that TSA/TSW is approaching. For many, topical corticosteroids are a safe, very effective therapy for eczema treatment, when used appropriately.
If TCS therapy is no longer effective, stopping this treatment should be done with the knowledge and supervision of a physician to avoid serious consequences, including severe bacterial infections.
“I was personally moved to watch the entire documentary more than once,” NEA President and CEO Julie Block shares. “NEA is entirely aligned here, as evidenced in creating a task force on the subject, and including RSS/TSW in our provider curriculum, patient education materials, shared-decision making initiative, our webinar series, and in passionately advocating for new, more effective and safer treatments.”
TSW is a difficult road, and Briana holds nothing back in showing these stories. We invite you to watch and share this powerful documentary with the warning of potentially disturbing images.