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Evidence-Based Dermatology: Research Commentary
December 2001

A Thorough Systematic Review of Treatments for Atopic Eczema

Author Affiliations

DamianoAbeniMD, MPHMichaelBigbyMDPaoloPasquiniMD, MPHMoysesSzkloMD, MPH, DrPHHywelWilliamsMD

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(12):1635-1636. doi:10.1001/archderm.137.12.1635

Systematic Review of Treatments of Atopic EczemaHoare C, Li Wan Po A, Williams HHealth Technol Assess 2000;4:1:1-191

The following synopsis is the "executive summary" of the systematic review in the authors' own words:

Atopic eczema is the commonest inflammatory skin disease of childhood, affecting 15-20% of children in the UK [United Kingdom] at any one time. Adults make up about one-third of all community cases. Moderate-to-severe atopic eczema can have a profound effect on the quality of life for both sufferers and their families. In addition to the effects of intractable itching, skin damage, soreness, sleep loss and the social stigma of a visible skin disease, other factors such as frequent visits to doctors, special clothing and the need to constantly apply messy topical applications all add to the burden of disease. The cause of atopic eczema is unknown, though a genetic pre-disposition and a combination of allergic and non-allergic factors appear to be important in determining disease expression. Treatment of atopic eczema in the UK is characterized by a profusion of treatments aimed at disease control. The evidential basis of these treatments is often unclear. Most people with atopic eczema are managed in primary care where the least research has been done.

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