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Medically reviewed by Dr. Samuel Sarmiento, M.D., MPH on August 3, 2023

A recent study highlights the challenges faced by adults with atopic dermatitis, their satisfaction with treatment options, and their unmet needs. Let’s delve into these insights and how they could guide your journey if you’re living with atopic dermatitis.

  • Atopic dermatitis can negatively affect people’s daily lives and work productivity.
  • Topical corticosteroid creams and oral antihistamines are common treatments.
  • Treatment satisfaction tends to decrease as the disease severity increases.
  • Living a normal life and being itch-free are significant treatment goals for people with atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis (AD), a chronic skin disease, affects an estimated 2–7% of adults in the United States. This translates to millions of individuals struggling with the condition. This disease is more than skin-deep; it affects overall health, quality of life, and mental wellbeing. 

If you’re someone with AD, you might find that it hinders not only your health but also your psychological, social, and professional life. The severity of the disease can be an important factor in determining its impact. In a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment, those with moderate-to-severe AD reported greater impacts on their lives than those with milder forms.

Treatment Satisfaction and Expectations 

For managing AD, topical creams (like corticosteroids) and oral antihistamines are frequently used. But how satisfied are individuals with these treatments? According to the study, many participants reported changing or discontinuing their treatment due to possible side effects or a lack of effectiveness. If you’ve tried various treatments for AD with little success, you’re not alone. This dissatisfaction highlights the need for more effective and safer treatment options.

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Setting Treatment Goals 

What do you hope to achieve with your treatment for AD? According to the study, the most common goals were the ability to lead a normal life (expressed by 28% of participants) and being itch-free (expressed by 4% of participants). It’s important to discuss your goals with your healthcare provider to ensure your treatment plan aligns with your expectations.

Key Takeaways

The results of this study underscore the significant burden of AD on the lives of patients, especially for those with severe forms of the disease. While treatment options exist, they often fall short in terms of effectiveness and patient satisfaction. If you’re struggling with AD, understanding these findings can offer you some comfort. In addition, it highlights the importance of maintaining close communication with your healthcare provider to ensure your treatment goals are being met.


Bacci, E. D., Correll, J. R., Pierce, E. J., Atwater, A. R., Dawson, Z., Begolka, W. S., & Butler, L. (2023). Burden of adult atopic dermatitis and unmet needs with existing therapies. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546634.2023.2202288