“It doesn’t have to be this way,” is a mantra I’ve embraced over the last year. It applies to all things in life that don’t feel great, and today I want to encourage you to remind yourself it doesn’t have to be this way if you or your child are dealing with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and not getting relief from current treatment. You can and should explore other options, and I hope to give you some tools below to empower yourself to seek out those treatments.
Last year, I teamed up with Med-IQ to talk to you about the signs and symptoms of eczema (or atopic dermatitis). Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. As promised, I’m back with some helpful info about traditional and newer treatments for moderate to severe eczema in this 2nd sponsored post.
More than 31 million Americans have some form of eczema, and ⅓ of adults and children with atopic dermatitis – a CHRONIC form of eczema- have moderate to severe disease.
In a survey I shared with you all in my first post about eczema, 54% of parents who responded said their child’s atopic dermatitis has been moderate to severe in the last 6 months. Knowing that the cold weather often makes eczema worse, I imagine this is something many of you are currently experiencing.
The Med IQ team explained eczema treatment to me in terms of a “treatment ladder.” If the first rung of that ladder isn’t doing enough to relieve symptoms for you or your child, we want you to advocate for yourself to move up the ladder until you find a treatment option that works for you.
A simplified version of that eczema treatment ladder looks like this:
The first couple rungs of the treatment ladder, which include basic skin care, identifying and avoiding irritants, and topical therapies, are best for mild to moderate cases of atopic dermatitis, or chronic eczema.
For more severe disease where you’re not satisfied with the outcomes of those treatments, you may need to move up to the ladder to include phototherapy or systemic treatments. However, phototherapy can be inconvenient and expensive and non-specific immunosuppressants, such as systemic corticosteroids, can cause rebound flares and adverse side effects with long-term use.
There are newer systemic agents now available and approved by the FDA that target the underlying causes of atopic dermatitis, including the factors that cause itch and inflammation. Dupilumab is available for persons aged 6 years and older with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis that can’t be controlled with topical medications.
Your doctor should be working with you to get to the best level of treatment for you or your child’s eczema. As atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition, they should be creating an “Eczema Action Plan” for you, which is a recommended management plan you follow closely in order to determine what level of treatment you need.
It’s important for you to look for a healthcare provider who is a partner in you or your child’s treatment journey. Look for clinicians who ask for your preferences, discuss your prior experiences, and partner with you to develop an eczema action plan.
If you or your child are struggling with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, and you feel the treatment you’re receiving for it is not adequate, remember IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.
You can read more from the American Academy of Dermatology, Eczema Resource Center here.
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with atopic dermatitis, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
Links to external sites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice, nor are they endorsements of any organization. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of any external site. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to write about the signs, symptoms, and treatments available for atopic dermatitis or eczema. All opinions are my own.