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Patient Resources

Understanding Atopic Dermatitis

Living with atopic dermatitis, or eczema, isn’t easy – it’s a lifelong condition with skin symptoms arising when you least expect them.

Where to start in terms of managing AD and other forms of eczema? Get to know your skin – from the inside out.

Our comprehensive guide addresses diagnosis, symptoms, treatment and prevention and details the latest innovative medications that can help keep severe atopic dermatitis in check.

Covers on Atopic Dermatitis guide in English and Spanish

About Eczema

This eczema guide, offered in both English and Spanish, covers everything you need to know about eczema symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and how to find an allergist.

Thumbnail of the Eczema brochures in English and Spanish

What’s the Best Treatment for My Atopic Dermatitis?

If moisturization (including soak-and-seal after bathing) and management strategies (reducing exposures to allergens and irritants) are not fully effective in treating your atopic dermatitis, your doctor may recommend topical or systemic medications. Discuss the pros and cons of each medication option.

Topical Treatments

Medicated ointments, creams, lotions, gels, oils or sprays that you apply to the skin.
CorticosteroidsCalcineurin inhibitorsCrisaborole 2%JAK inhibitors
Use:Controls inflammation and itching; apply 1-2X per day; approved for adults and children, including infants as young as 3 monthsControls inflammation and itching when topical corticosteroids aren’t working; apply 1-2X per day; approved for adults and children ages 2 and olderControls inflammation, itch and rash for mild to moderate eczema; apply 2X per day; approved for adults and children 3 months of age and olderShort-term treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis; apply 2X per day; approved for non-immunocompromised adults and children 12 years of age and older
Side effects:Redness, stretch marks, skin thinning, spider veins; may develop dependence, leading to Topical Steroid Withdrawal SyndromeStinging or burning may occur upon first use; very slight risk of infectionStinging or burning sensation may occurNose and throat pain or swelling; bronchitis; diarrhea; ear infection; runny nose; hives, tonsillitis
Cost*:Low to moderate costModerate to high costHigh cost Moderate to high

Systemic Treatments

Injectable biologics, oral corticosteroids or phototherapy designed to treat the entire body – typically prescribed for patients with persistent, moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis who need more than topical treatments.
BiologicsOral or injectable corticosteroidsPhototherapy (light therapy)JAK inhibitors
Use:Injected under the skin every 2 weeks; tralokinumab approved for adults, dupilumab approved for adults and children 6 months of age and olderDaily pill or long-acting injection given at doctor’s office – should not be used long-term due to side effects; approved for childrenExposure to ultraviolet (UV) light to reduce inflammation and itch and boost the body’s ability to fight bacteria; can be applied to specific areas or entire body; approved for children ages 6 and olderA pill taken 1X daily for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis for adults and children 12 years of age or older whose disease is not well controlled by other systemic treatments
Side effects:Redness or itching at injection site; eye or eyelid inflammation; allergic reaction; cold sores; joint pain; mouth and throat pain; difficulty sleepingWeakened muscles, bone thinning, eye problems, diabetes, weight gain, sleep problems, mood swings or behavior changes, Cushing syndrome, slowed growth in children; symptoms may worsen after treatmentSunburn; skin aging; risk of skin cancerShortness of breath; chest pain or pressure; nausea; vomiting; cold sweat; lightheadedness; slurred speech; weakness on one side of your body
Cost*:High costLow costModerate to high costModerate to high
*May depend on your health insurance coverage

You Make the Call

Take the complete Shared Decision Making Tool, in partnership with AAAA. Share the results with your doctor so that you both come to a decision on the best treatment plan for you.

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