Atopic eczema and the barriers to treatment adherence for children: a literature review

Nurs Child Young People. 2023 Nov 2;35(6):21-27. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2023.e1459. Epub 2023 Apr 17.


Atopic eczema is a chronic, non-contagious, relapsing inflammatory skin condition commonly seen in children and adults. Children with atopic eczema often endure complex skincare regimens that can keep the condition under control when managed effectively. Nonadherence, particularly to topical treatments, is one of the most common causes of treatment failure in atopic eczema. This literature review aimed to explore the barriers that influence treatment adherence in children and young people with atopic eczema and identify recommendations for practice. Six studies were included in the literature review and three themes were identified: relationships, medicines concerns and information deficits. Healthcare professionals should strive to develop trusting relationships with parents and understand the barriers to treatment adherence. Individualised conversations and education about medicines concerns, understanding the psychosocial effects of atopic eczema on children and families, and providing clear, consistent advice can be beneficial.

Keywords: child health; clinical; dermatitis; eczema; emollients; mothers; parents; skin; skin conditions; topical treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / psychology
  • Eczema* / drug therapy
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Parents / psychology
  • Treatment Adherence and Compliance