A systematic review investigating the proportion of clinical images shared in prospective randomized controlled trials involving patients with atopic dermatitis and systemic pharmacotherapy

J Dermatolog Treat. 2024 Dec;35(1):2338280. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2024.2338280. Epub 2024 Apr 3.


For individuals with atopic dermatitis (AD), interpreting scientific papers that present clinical outcomes including the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) and Investigators Global Assessment may be difficult. When compared to tabulated data and graphs, images from before and after treatment are often far more meaningful to these patients that ultimately will be candidates for the treatment. This systematic review focused on determining the frequency of clinical image sharing in AD research.

Conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines, the review concentrated on randomized controlled trials that investigated predefined and available systemic treatments for AD. The search was performed in the MEDLINE database for studies published from the inception until 21 December 2023.

The review included 60 studies, encompassing 17,799 randomized patients. Across these studies, 16 images representing 6 patients were shared in the manuscripts, leading to a sharing rate of 0.3‰.

The almost missing inclusion of patient images in clinical trial publications hinders patient understanding. Adding images to scientific manuscripts could significantly improve patients' comprehension of potential treatment outcomes. This review highlights the need for authors, the pharmaceutical industry, study sponsors, and publishers to enhance and promote patient information through increased use of visual data.

Keywords: Atopic dermatitis; Janus kinase inhibitor; data sharing; pharmaceuticals, biologic; randomized controlled trial; skin imaging; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome