Atopic Dermatitis in Children in the General Population: Baseline Characteristics, Medication Use, and Severity Measures in the Rotterdam Eczema Study

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Abstract

Background: Real-life data on severity and treatments in children with atopic dermatitis (AD) are needed to evaluate self-management.

Objectives: To determine severity and use of topical treatments in children with AD in the general population. Furthermore, we aim to determine agreement and correlation between objective and subjective AD severity measures.

Methods: Data were used from the Rotterdam Eczema Study, an observational prospective cohort study with an embedded pragmatic open-label randomized controlled trial. Descriptive statistics were used for baseline characteristics, medication use, and severity. Strength of agreement and correlation were determined using kappa analysis and Pearson correlation.

Results: In total, 367 children (mean age 5.7 years) were recruited. The mean eczema area and severity index (EASI) score was 2.1 (±3.2) and mean patient-oriented eczema measure (POEM) score was 10.3 (±6.1). The majority applied emollients on a daily basis (54.9%) and had not used topical corticosteroids (TCSs) over the past week (51%). Based on severity banding of POEM and EASI, 49.9% and 24.9% of the children were undertreated, respectively. No evidence was found for an agreement between EASI and POEM (kappa 0.028, n = 178, P = 0.451). A moderate correlation between POEM, EASI, infants' dermatitis quality of life index, and children's dermatology life quality index was found. POEM showed higher correlation with quality of life (QoL) than EASI.

Conclusion: Emollients were used sufficiently in the study population. Based on signs or symptoms, 24.9% and 49.9% of children are undertreated, respectively. POEM scores correlated better with QoL than with EASI scores. We argue that EASI underestimates severity of AD, and treatment based on EASI scores may lead to undertreatment of AD. Treating physicians should be aware of suboptimal use of TCSs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalDermatitis
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date4 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

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