Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in the United States: Analysis of Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
March 2017 | Volume 16 | Issue 3 | Original Article | 250 | Copyright © March 2017
Sean P. McGregor DO PharmD, Michael E. Farhangian MD, Karen E. Huang MS, and Steven R. Feldman MD PhD
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Introduction: Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects both adult and pediatric patients, and multiple practitioners encounter and manage AD. However, differences with regard to the treatment of AD between specialties are not well characterized. Objective: The primary objective of this study was to determine if there is a difference between dermatologists and non-dermatology specialties with regard to treatment strategies for AD and to describe those differences. Methods: Data from the 1993-2010 National Ambulatory Medical Care (NAMCS) and National Hospital Ambulatory Care (NHAMCS) Surveys were used to characterize outpatient visits made for AD. Differences in demographic, geographic and seasonal characteristics were obtained and compared. Additionally, the frequency of medications prescribed at dermatologist visits were compared to other specialties. Primary Outcome Measures: Frequency of modalities used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis between dermatologists and non-dermatology specialties. Results: An estimated 3.7 million visits for AD were made to outpatient offices and hospital departments from 1993 to 2010. The rates per capita of visits for atopic dermatitis were similar when evaluated by gender and season. However, Caucasians were almost 50% less likely than African Americans or individuals of other minority races to have visits for AD. Topical corticosteroids (TCS) were mentioned at 52% of visits, and dermatologists were more likely than non-dermatologists to prescribe TCS, emollients, and topical calcineurin inhibitors. Conclusions: Dermatologists were more likely to recommend TCS, emollients, and topical calciuneurin inhibitors for the treatment of AD. Dermatologists were also more likely to prescribe higher potency TCS in comparison to non-dermatology specialties, and these differences may ultimately affect patient care. As a result, there remains a disparity between dermatologists and non-dermatology specialties with regard to evidence-based approaches to the treatment of AD.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(3):250-255.