Health Union Launches AtopicDermatitis.net Online Community
— “Atopic Dermatitis In America” Survey Reveals Patient Embarrassment, Frustration —
September 21, 2017
In addition to the physical symptoms of atopic dermatitis such as intense itching and dry, scaly skin, people suffering from the condition often wrestle with feelings of embarrassment and frustration, according to “Atopic Dermatitis In America,” a new Health Union survey.
The online survey was conducted May 3-July 11, 2017 and accompanied the launch of Health Union’s newest community, AtopicDermatitis.net.
“Contributing to AtopicDermatitis.net gives me an outlet to express my outlook and frustrations on living with my condition, both frustrations from the past – being diagnosed with atopic eczema at such a young age – and present in dealing with the condition in my adulthood,” said AtopicDermatitis.net community advocate Shawntel Bethea. “This site allows me to share my voice and makes me feel heard. It allows me to be more than just a patient, but an advocate for my condition and a voice for those who may not have the ability to share their own.”
Atopic dermatitis, also referred to as atopic eczema, is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition that affects children and adults. It is characterized by itchy, dry, scaly patches on the skin. Atopic dermatitis affects an estimated 30 percent of people in the United States, with different levels of severity. The condition can occur at any age, but symptoms most often begin in childhood.
In the survey, patients reported that dry skin and itchiness are an everyday occurrence, with 74 percent reporting dry/rough skin and 66 percent reporting itchiness daily. Most respondents (74 percent) indicated that intense itching was the most difficult symptom to manage.
Nearly all (98 percent) respondents said they have tried various tactics for improving symptoms or flares, including applying moisturizer or lotion (91 percent), avoiding perfumes or fragrances in lotions (70 percent), drying skin carefully after washing (67 percent), or using special soaps or cleansers (80 percent).
Over-the-counter (OTC) lotions and creams were the leader among current treatments, with 77 percent of respondents saying they were currently using them. Sixty-three percent said they currently used topical corticosteroids to treat the condition. Survey participants also reported using other treatments, including vitamins, probiotics, oatmeal baths, and coconut oil to alleviate symptoms or flares.
A majority (51 percent) of patients said they are currently seeing a dermatologist to manage the condition, yet 31 percent report being dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their treatment.
“The survey results highlight challenges and opportunities for healthcare providers and pharmaceutical industry alike,” said Health Union Co-founder and CEO Olivier Chateau. “Respondents tell us they have tried a variety of treatment options yet do not feel their symptoms are under control. While 29 percent are satisfied with their current treatment plan, more than half are at least somewhat likely to change treatment plans.”
“Additionally, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of patients say they’re interested in participating in clinical trials, which can lead to more effective treatments for atopic dermatitis down the road,” he added.