A new study highlights trends in the treatment of atopic dermatitis using systemic immunosuppressants (IMMs) in the UK adult population. The findings were published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
Researchers retrospectively analysed the primary care treatment patterns for IMMs in adult patients with atopic dermatitis using data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN).
A systemic IMM was prescribed in 6.6 per cent of patients with atopic dermatitis. Majority of the patients were prescribed topical corticosteroids (61.9%) and/or emollients (49.4%). Methotrexate (43.3%) and azathioprine (41.3%) were the most commonly prescribed systemic IMMs. Although ciclosporin remains the only approved systemic IMM for atopic dermatitis, it was prescribed only to 16.9 per cent of patients. The mean number of prescriptions per patient per year for any IMM was 9.2 (standard deviation, 6.8).
Overall, 42.7 per cent of patients received a prescription for an oral corticosteroid (OCS). OCS use did not decrease among patients prescribed a higher number of IMMs, but rather increased among patients receiving more IMMs.
The authors commented: "The prevalence of concomitant OCS use among UK adult patients with atopic dermatitis prescribed systemic IMMs, suggests inadequate disease control with existing systemic therapies, and a significant unmet need for new therapies that provide safe and effective disease control."