Objective The scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD) is a well-established severity-scoring tool for atopic dermatitis (AD). Dead Sea climatotherapy (DSC) is a natural selective balneo-phototherapy utilized for many years to treat severe AD. The study’s goal was to evaluate the impact of DSC on AD patients through assessment of SCORAD scores and to identify parameters associated with greater improvement.
Methods The files of 78 European patients (37 male patients and 41 female patients, mean age 37.8 years) with AD undergoing DSC were included in this retrospective study. Three sub-groups were delineated based on disease severity (as determined using the SCORAD). Demographic and clinical parameters as well as treatment characteristics – maximal and cumulative sun exposure doses – were recorded. SCORAD values were again recorded for assessment of treatment response. SCORAD 75 was defined as ≥75% decrease in SCORAD values following therapy. Statistical analysis including logistic regression models was used in multivariable analysis.
Results After an average of 30 days of treatment, mean SCORAD values dropped from 50.5 to 11 (76.7%, P < 0.001). 64.1% of all patients, regardless of sub-group, reached SCORAD 75, whereas 78.9% of patients with severe disease achieved this result. In a multivariate logistic regression, factors associated with achieving SCORAD 75 were maximal sun exposure, family history of AD and age at disease onset (P = 0.002, P = 0.009 and P = 0.040 respectively).
Conclusion Dead Sea climatotherapy is a particularly effective treatment method for the sub-population of adults with severe AD. The SCORAD 75 can be useful for defining sub-populations in which treatment is more likely to be successful.