Atopic eczema (AE) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by recurrent intense pruritus and a typical age-related distribution of skin lesions. Several new aspects with regard to the pathogenetic background as well as strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of AE have emerged. There are ongoing studies on genetic susceptibility loci, as well as environmental and nutritional factors associated with an increase or a decrease of AE lesions. The atopy patch test is now available for identification of allergens in aeroallergen-triggered AE. New topical therapies, such as the calcineurin inhibitors, have broadened the therapeutic armamentarium substantially. In order to increase knowledge and coping strategies, patient education programs have been launched.
Learning objective Upon completing this paper, the reader should be aware of new developments in AE, especially on nomenclature, prevention strategies, diagnostic tests, as well as therapeutic options.