Background: For many years dermatologists have had access to few therapies for patients with moderate-to-severe atopic eczema (AE). New promising therapies are entering the market but conventional phototherapies and systemic therapies have more well-known safety profiles, lower costs and wider availability.
Objectives: To provide insight into current prescribing practices of conventional phototherapy and systemic immunomodulatory therapies for adults with chronic AE, and the factors influencing these prescribing practices, before biologics and other novel therapeutics become routine clinical practice.
Methods: In this exploratory study dermatologists were invited to participate in an online survey via a mailing list of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and national societies. Data were collected on participant characteristics (including clinical practice data), the use of phototherapies and systemic therapies, and factors influencing their use.
Results: From 30 European countries, 238 out of 361 dermatologists willing to participate (65·9%) completed the survey, with 229 meeting the inclusion criteria. For phototherapy (prescribed by 84·7%), most preferred narrowband ultraviolet B as first line (80·9%) and psoralen plus ultraviolet A as second (21·6%). For systemic therapy (prescribed by 95·2%) ciclosporin (54·1%), oral corticosteroids (32·6%) and methotrexate (30·7%) were used first line. Dermatologists relied mostly on personal experience for prescribing phototherapy and systemic therapy. Azathioprine and mycophenolic acid were prescribed by only 135 (59·0%) and 85 (37·1%) participants in total, mostly due to a lack of personal experience.
Conclusions: This study provides insight into prescribing practices for conventional phototherapy and systemic therapy in Europe and shows that off-label therapies are also preferred as first-line choice of systemic therapy.
© 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Dermatology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists.