General practitioners' explanation and advice on childhood eczema and factors influencing their treatment strategy: A qualitative study

Karlijn van Halewijn*, Tessa Warendorff, Arthur Bohnen, Mario Veen, Suzanne Pasmans, Patrick Bindels, Gijs Elshout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is common in children and the majority of children can be treated by the general practitioner (GP). Various factors can influence the GP's treatment strategy and may lead to less effective treatment. The objective is to gain insight into the treatment goal, treatment strategy, explanation and advice given by GPs when dealing with AD in children and to explore which factors play a role in the choice of pharmacological treatment.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews in primary care in the Netherlands were audio-recorded and transcribed. All data were analysed according to the six-steps approach of inductive thematic analysis.

Results: We interviewed 16 GPs. Treatment goals mainly focussed on the short term. GPs discussed the importance of emollient use and emphasised emollients as the basis of treatment. We found that several factors played a role in prescribing topical corticosteroids (TCS); severity of the AD, age of the child, skin type, corticophobia among parents and GPs, experience of side effects and dermatological experience. GPs reported giving limited advice about the use of TCS and prescribed medication that is not recommended by the guideline.

Conclusion: Various factors seem to influence GPs' treatment strategy for AD in children. More attention and education about the use and safety of TCS in children during GP training, continuous medical education, probably improve treatment in line with guidelines and can lead to more confidence and knowledge about TCS among GPs, which ultimately may improve the education and self-management of patients.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere147
JournalSkin Health and Disease
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Authors. Skin Health and Disease published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Dermatologists.

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