Atopic dermatitis is not just a childhood disorder

Published online: November 10, 2017

Atopic dermatitis is a significant cause of morbidity, poor quality of life, and public health burden. Little is known about the different manifestations of atopic dermatitis in adulthood, particularly atopic dermatitis that first begins in adulthood.

In a study published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Silverberg et al. studied 356 adults with atopic dermatitis to determine how commonly the atopic dermatitis first presented in adulthood, and whether adult compared to childhood onset atopic dermatitis was associated with different clinical manifestations.

They found that 41.9% of the adults in the study self-reported adult-onset of their atopic dermatitis. Adult-onset atopic dermatitis was associated with a lower prevalence of personal and/or family history of allergic disease. They also had distinct phenotypes with less flexural lesions and more involvement of the hands and/or head/neck. However, there was similar severity and burden of disease among those with adult vs. child-onset atopic dermatitis.

This study demonstrates self-reported adult-onset atopic dermatitis is common and has distinct phenotypes from child-onset disease. Future studies are needed to understand the risk factors and mechanism of adult-onset atopic dermatitis.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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