About 30% of 16-year-olds with active atopic eczema in Sweden were untreated, according to research presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology-World Allergy Organization World Allergy and Asthma Congress in Milan.
Researchers evaluated 2,540 16-year-olds as part of an ongoing Swedish population-based cohort study. A web-based questionnaire and clinical examination were used to explore eczema prevalence, manifestations and treatment. If patients had itchy skin in the previous week or visible eczema on examination day, they answered the five-question Patient Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM) questionnaire to assess the Williams’ diagnostic criteria for atopic eczema. It focused on sleep disturbances and itchiness, dryness, cracked and scaly skin and exudation of the eczema.
Twenty-three percent of participants (n=573) reported ever having eczema. During examination, 16.5% of patients (n=420) reported ever having eczema or itchy skin, but 10% fulfilled Williams’ diagnostic criteria (146 girls, 97 boys) for atopic eczema. Thirty percent of patients, including 43 girls, were untreated, based on POEM criteria.
Total POEM score ranged from 0 to 28, with a mean of 9. Eighty-one percent of teens (n=198) graded the symptoms from 0 to 9 points. Teens with increased symptoms, 17% (n=45), graded symptoms from 10-27 points and of these, was 18% untreated.”
Five percent of patients reported no problems with their eczema, which was treated primarily by emollients, glucocorticoids or a combination. Girls used emollients twice as frequently as boys.
“Approximately one-third [of patients with ongoing atopic eczema were] untreated, without any difference related to sex,” the researchers concluded.
For more information:
Lundin S. Abstract 343: Atopic Eczema Among Schoolchildren. Presented at: EAACI-WAO World Allergy and Asthma Congress 2013; June 23-26, Milan.