Conference Coverage

VIDEO: Dermatologists often miss adult onset atopic dermatitis



– Evidence from several recent studies suggests that the prevalence of adult onset atopic dermatitis in the United States may be as high as 7%-10%, said Jonathan I. Silverberg, MD, of the department of dermatology, preventive medicine, and medical social sciences, Northwestern University, Chicago.

Many features are similar to atopic dermatitis (AD) seen in childhood, but in adults the eczema is more likely to affect the hands and the eyelids. “We often have a hard time telling that apart from contact dermatitis,” Dr. Silverberg said in a video interview at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar provided by Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

Some adults may have forgotten they had AD as children and don’t recognize it if it reappears in adulthood, but sometimes AD appears with no childhood history, he noted. “There’s a skepticism that if it is adult onset, it must not be atopic dermatitis,” but he has found that is not always the case.

A take-home message for clinicians: “Don’t be surprised when a patient walks in the door as an adult meeting all criteria for atopic dermatitis. It can be, and you can diagnose them comfortably,” said Dr. Silverberg, who is also director of the Northwestern Medicine Multidisciplinary Eczema Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Most of the treatments for adult AD “cover many different arms of the immune system,” and include topical steroids and immunosuppressants, he added.

Dr. Silverberg disclosed relationships with companies including AbbVie, Anacor, Celgene, Chugai, GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, MedImmune-AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Puricore, and Regeneron-Sanofi. SDEF and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.

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