Patient perspectives on the management of atopic dermatitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jul;118(1):226-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.02.031. Epub 2006 May 2.


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is increasingly common, with a point prevalence of more than 30% in some countries, and is characterized by visible skin lesions and intense itching.

Objective: The International Study of Life with Atopic Eczema (ISOLATE) is the first large-scale study to assess the effect of AD on the lives of patients and society, how patients and caregivers manage the condition, and how well patients and caregivers currently believe that AD is controlled.

Methods: Two thousand two patients (>13 years) and caregivers of children (2-13 years) with moderate-to-severe AD randomly selected from 8 countries underwent standardized telephone interviews using questions developed in collaboration with national eczema patient groups and physicians.

Results: During each year, patients spend, on average, 1 of 3 days in flare. The majority of patients receive prescription topical corticosteroids to treat flares; however, 49% of respondents are concerned about using these agents. On average, patients and caregivers delay initiating treatment for 7 days after onset of a flare. Only 24% of patients and caregivers feel confident they can manage AD flares adequately. Seventy-five percent of caregivers and patients feel that being able to effectively control AD would be the single most important improvement to their or their child's quality of life. The avoidable secondary economic cost of AD is estimated at 2 billion Euro per year across the European Union.

Conclusion: ISOLATE highlights the need to improve patients' control of AD to reduce the significant effect this condition has on the patient and society.

Clinical implications: ISOLATE shows that patients with AD are untreated for half the time they are in flare, and thus there is an urgent need for physicians to ensure that the patients are educated and confident in using medication as prescribed to gain disease control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / psychology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic