Long-term management of atopic dermatitis: evidence from recent clinical trials

Author(s): Sakari Reitamo ,Johanna M Mandelin, Anita Remitz

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a superficial itchy inflammation of the skin, which often has a prolonged course. Treatment of AD has been based mainly on topical corticosteroids. When these treatments have proved unsatisfactory, other treatments such as ultraviolet or immunosuppressive treatments have been added. Recently, topical calcineurin inhibitors have also shown efficacy as monotherapy of AD. Many therapies have been shown to be effective in short-term treatments of a few weeks; however, long-term treatment studies of at least 3 months are much less common. In this article we focus on recent long-term efficacy and safety studies. Maintenance treatment of AD has shown its superiority to standard flare treatment both with corticosteroids and topical calcineurin inhibitors. At present it is not clear whether longterm safety hazards associated with AD are due to AD itself or treatments used over time. To clarify this issue, we have reviewed the epidemiological and case–control data on AD, its long-term treatments and cancer