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18.02.2021 | Review Open Access

Tolerability of and Adherence to Topical Treatments in Atopic Dermatitis: A Narrative Review

Dermatology and Therapy
Heather L. Tier, Esther A. Balogh, Arjun M. Bashyam, Alan B. Fleischer Jr, Jonathan M. Spergel, E. J. Masicampo, Lara K. Kammrath, Lindsay C. Strowd, Steven R. Feldman


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic inflammatory skin disease that oftentimes requires complex therapy. Poor adherence is a major barrier to AD treatment success. An interspecialty, virtual roundtable panel was held, through which clinical dermatologists, allergists, and behavioral and social psychologists discussed AD management and adherence. Relevant literature was reviewed, and the content of this article was organized based on the roundtable discussion. Current guidelines for AD treatment include maintenance and acute therapy for mild-to-severe AD. Therapy is often complex and requires significant patient involvement, which may contribute to poor treatment adherence. Behavioral and social psychology strategies that may help improve adherence include scheduling timely follow-up appointments, using a clearly written eczema action plan (EAP), reducing perceived treatment burden, utilizing anchoring techniques, sharing anecdotes, and rewarding children using positive reinforcement and stickers. There are multiple practical ways by which providers can improve both the management and treatment adherence of patients with AD.
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