HealthDay News — The prevalence of atopic dermatitis is 7.3% among US adults, and patients with atopic dermatitis and more severe disease have worse quality of life, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Zelma C. Chiesa Fuxench, MD, from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the prevalence of atopic dermatitis, distribution of disease severity, and impact on health-related quality of life in a cohort of 1278 US adults.

The researchers found that the prevalence of atopic dermatitis was 7.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9 to 8.8), with 60.1 (95% CI, 56.1 to 64.1%), 28.9 (95% CI, 25.3% to 32.7%), and 11% (95% CI, 8.6% to 13.7%) classified as mild, moderate, and severe, respectively. Compared with controls, patients with atopic dermatitis and those with more severe disease had higher scores on the dermatology life quality index (mean, 4.71 vs 0.97; P < .001), indicating worse quality of life, and on the hospital anxiety (mean, 7.03 vs 4.73) and depression (mean, 5.83 vs 3.62) scales. A total of 16.5 million adults were estimated to have atopic dermatitis, with 6.6 million meeting the criteria for moderate-to-severe disease based on the prevalence estimates.

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“These findings show a disconnect between the prevalence of this disease — and its impact on patient quality of life — compared to the resources being dedicated to developing systemic therapies,” Chiesa Fuxench said in a statement. “With only one approved biologic available, it’s clear the need is not being met.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; the Atopic Dermatitis in America research project was partially sponsored by Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron.

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