Racial Inequity can add an additional financial burden to minority patients with atopic dermatitis. Reducing this burden can lead to better patient outcomes.
The Financial Burden of Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as eczema, is associated with direct and indirect costs because of its chronic nature. This condition is more prevalent in children and minority populations. Treatment options can be expensive, making them less accessible to a lower socioeconomic population. A 2022 literature review published in Dermatologic Therapy examined AD management and treatment from a more cost-conservative perspective.
Atopic Dermatitis Preventative Measures
Using moisturizers as a preventative measure in high-risk infants who have not yet developed AD may reduce the condition’s incidence, thus decreasing the associated costs. Increasing patient medication compliance and moisturizing between AD flares also reduces costs related to this condition.1
The use of corticosteroids as the first-line treatment is efficacious and cost-effective for mild cases of AD. However, severe cases of AD require a different course of treatment. Corticosteroids alone will not be adequate. Although systemic biologics targeting specific parts of the immune system are necessary for some patients suffering from severe AD cases, they are associated with high costs.
Light therapy can help to improve AD suffers’ symptoms. Cost-effective options identified by this review include portable home units, tanning beds, and natural sunlight.
Effective management of AD improves with education programs for the patient and their family, reducing long-term costs in managing this disease. Healthcare providers may need to initiate this conversation with their patients to decrease their financial burden.
Reducing AD treatment costs requires consideration of preventative measures and culturally sensitive patient education based on the severity of the condition. A multifaceted approach to AD treatment can reduce costs and healthcare barriers.
Myers, E. M., Perche, P. O., Jorizzo, J. L., & Feldman, S. R. (2022). Reducing costs in atopic dermatitis. Dermatol Ther, 35(11), e15849. https://doi.org/10.1111/dth.15849