Background Measures of the impact of severe eczema on patients’ lives are required for clinical, audit and political reasons, in order to argue for more resources for dermatology services.
Objective The purpose of this study was to identify and measure the effects of severe eczema on quality of life of adults.
Setting Dermatology hospital hased clinics throughout the United Kingdom.
Methods Ninety-two adults with severe atopic eczema completed a questionnaire concerning the effect of their disease on their quality of life.
Results The mean Dermatology Life Quality Index was 18 (60%). S.D. 7.1. with subsections relating to “symptoms and feelings” and “treatment effects” scoring highest. Disease comparison utility questions demonstrated that patients with severe eczema consider that having diabetes (ratio=1.21) or hypertension (1.38) would be better than having eczema, whereas having bronchitis (0.89) would be worse than having eczema (if diseases equal, ratio = 1). Over the long term, atopic eczema affects family life in 80% of patients and sexual relationships in 57%. 32% of patients had lost a median income of £5000 over the previous year because of their eczema, and those patients who were working had lost a median of 5 days from work over the previous year. 50% of patients would be prepared to give up 2 h or more a day in order to have normal skin, and 74% (49%) of patients would be prepared to pay £1000 (£10,000) or more for a cure.
Conclusion This study confirms the major impact of severe atopic eczema on the quality of life of adults.