Treatment for atopic dermatitis (AD) has changed a lot in the last few years, according to a new yardstick published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
“The Atopic Dermatitis Yardstick was written by AD experts who are allergists and dermatologists because we want physicians who see patients with AD on a regular basis to know there are effective treatment options available,” says allergist Mark Boguniewicz, MD, ACAAI Fellow and lead author of the yardstick. “In the yardstick, we cover the challenges and barriers to treatment success. We offer definitions of disease severity, review treatment failures, address treatment in a step wise fashion and cover the emerging science and implications for new therapies.”
The yardstick has practical recommendations for physicians about which medications are appropriate at which stage of diagnosis.
“All patients must keep their skin highly moisturized, regardless of the activity or severity of their disease” says allergist Luz Fonacier, MD, ACAAI board member and co-author of the yardstick. “We emphasize throughout the yardstick that even when patients step up to stronger medications, they should still continue basic treatment of bathing with warm water followed immediately with heavy moisturization, i.e. soak and seal.”
Two new medications have recently been approved for AD. The first, crisaborole, is an ointment that reduces itching, redness and swelling of the skin. It is the first anti-inflammatory medication to be approved for the treatment of mild to moderate AD in more than 15 years. It is approved for patients 2 years of age or older. Dupilumab, the second new medication, is a biologic therapy given by injection for patients 18 years or older with moderate to severe AD who haven’t responded to, or can’t use topical medications.
“There are effective medications available that help relieve AD symptoms and now can also target some of the underlying mechanisms of the disease,” says Dr. Fonacier. “People with AD have been frustrated by the limitations of existing treatments. We’re very excited by the new medications which were developed based on better understanding of atopic dermatitis.“