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Australian Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial Details

The PEBBLES study – Testing a strategy for preventing eczema and food allergy in high risk infants

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Trial Information

Broad Health Condition Skin
Inflammatory and Immune System

Specific Health ConditionDermatological conditions

Trial FocusPrevention

Recruitment Details

Recruitment status
Active, not recruiting

Recruitment State

The Royal Women's Hospital - Parkville
Mercy Hospital for Women - Heidelberg
Frances Perry House - Parkville

3052 - Parkville
3084 - Heidelberg

Anticipated date of first participant enrolment8/01/2018

Anticipated date of last participant enrolment31/08/2020

Phase of TrialPhase 3

Has the study received ethics approval?Further information iconApproved

Trial summary

The primary objective of this study is to demonstrate that twice daily application of a ceramide dominant emollient reduces the risk of eczema and food allergy, when compared to standard skin management. Secondary objectives are to determine if twice daily application of a ceramide dominant emollient reduces the risk of infants developing allergic sensitisation (as measured by skin prick test); to determine if twice daily application of a ceramide dominant emollient improves infant skin barrier function; to determine the level of parental compliance with a program to build infant skin barrier function; to confirm that a ceramide dominant emollient does not cause adverse effects in infants; to determine the level of compliance required to demonstrate an improvement in infant skin barrier function and to determine if twice daily application of a ceramide dominant emollient influences infant skinmicrobial colonisation, or skin lipid profile.
This is a phase III, single blind (outcome assessor is blinded), randomised controlled multicentre trial of the effect of EpiCeram emollient for improving and maintaining skin barrier function and reducing incidence of eczema and food allergy in high risk infants. 
A total of 760 participants with a first degree family history of allergic disease (asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis or food allergy) will be recruited (380 each group) from maternity wards of seven hospitals.
Treatment will be from birth until six months, with a six week, six month and twelve month follow-up. An initial assessment will be performed at baseline which incorporates three surveys, a skin assessment, diary card (which is to be completed weekly and measures compliance), a breast milk sample, guthrie card and tape stripping. The six week assessment entails a skin assessment, survey, compliance check, breast milk sample, tape stripping and guthrie card, while the six month assessment entails a survey. Primary outcomes are assessed at the 12 month follow up where in addition to the aforementioned items, a saliva sample will also be taken and skin prick testing and food challenges will be performed when children have a positive SPT to one or more foods.. 


Key inclusion criteria

Infants will be eligible for this study if their mother, father, or an older sibling has a self-reported history of at least one of the following conditions:
eczema/atopic dermatitis, 
hay fever/ allergic rhinitis 
or food allergy.

GenderBoth males and females

Can Healthy volunteers participate? Yes

Key exclusion criteria

Infants with any of the following will be excluded:
A parent who has a known hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients of EpiCeram™ will be excluded, as it would be difficult for these parents to apply EpiCeram™ to their infant, and there is likely to be an increased risk of the infant reacting to the cream.  
Multiple births (twins, triplets etc.) will be excluded, due to the difficulty in randomising individual twins and because of the clustering effect of multiple children from the same family which would reduce the effective sample size of the study.  
Who are born premature (<36 weeks) as the effect of the intervention may be different in premature infants.
Who have major birth or early life medical complications that require admission into a special care nursery, as it will be difficult for parents to comply with the study requirements.
Whose parents do not have sufficient English language skills to be able to answer questions. 
Whose parents are not able to comply with all protocol required visits and procedures.
Contact details and further information

Sponsor Primary Sponsor Type: University
Primary Sponsor Name: University of Melbourne
Primary Sponsor Address: Parkville VIC 3010
Primary Sponsor Country: Australia

Trial website

Trial IDACTRN12617001380381


Contact person for information and recruitmentMs
Shaie O'Brien
Allergy and Lung Health Unit Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics Melbourne School of Population and Global Health University of Melbourne VIC 3010 Level 3, 207 Bouverie Street
+61 3 8344 0643
+61 3 9349 5815

Email contact Further information