Br J Dermatol 2018 Sep 21;179(3):709-716. Epub 2018 Jun 21.
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Background: Knowledge regarding how adolescents treat their eczema is sparse.
Objectives: To explore the use of emollients and topical glucocorticoids in adolescents with eczema in relation to sex and disease severity, and to study dispensing patterns of topical glucocorticoids.
Methods: Questionnaire-based data on symptoms of eczema, eczema severity and treatment with emollients and topical glucocorticoids were obtained from 3108 adolescents in the Swedish population-based birth cohort BAMSE. Severity of reported eczema was evaluated with the BAMSE Eczema Severity Score (BESS) in a questionnaire and with the Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure in clinically examined patients with current eczema (n = 247). Information on dispensed topical glucocorticoids was obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.
Results: In all, 10% of the adolescents reported eczema in the preceding year: 73% mild, 17% moderate and 10% severe according to BESS. Almost all used emollients, whereas use of topical glucocorticoids was reported by 55%, with no significant difference between sexes. The likelihood of treatment with emollients and topical glucocorticoids increased when the adolescents had symptoms of current eczema [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 5·95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·90-18·8], but not if they had more severe eczema compared with mild eczema (adjusted OR 1·57, 95% CI 0·58-4·25). Among those with reported eczema, 24% had a topical glucocorticoid dispensed in the preceding year, and among those with moderate-to-severe current eczema 24% had a dispensed potent topical glucocorticoid.
Conclusions: This population-based study indicates that adolescents with eczema are undertreated or completely untreated, even those with severe eczema.