Morbidity and cost of atopic eczema in Australia

Australas J Dermatol. 2004 Feb;45(1):16-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2004.00046.x.


The severity, morbidity and financial costs of atopic eczema (AE) were assessed during a 1-year prospective study of a cohort of 85 people aged 14-63 years (mean 36 years) with the disease. A dermatologist examined each participant using the Six Area Six Sign Atopic Dermatitis severity scoring system to classify severity. Participants completed a Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), a Nottingham Eczema Severity Score (NESS) and an ongoing diary of health-care consultations and treatment costs. Follow up by mail to each participant was conducted every 2 months and participants completed a NESS, a DLQI and a diary of costs incurred. The DLQI data revealed that 36% spent over 10 min per day applying treatments, 28% indicated that AE influenced the clothes they wore, 21% felt embarrassed by their skin and 15% reported problems with treatments. There appeared to be a relationship between increased morbidity and increased severity. The average annual out-of-pocket cost for products used for treatment was A$425, ranging from A$13.50 to over A$2000 per individual. The average out-of-pocket cost for medical consultations was A$120, ranging from zero to over A$800 per individual. Although there were concerns about the reproducibility of the severity and morbidity measures, the data showed that AE can have substantial effects both financially and from a personal perspective for those affected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / economics*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / psychology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / economics
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Dermatologic Agents