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The Burden of Atopic Dermatitis: Impact on the Patient, Family, and Society


Address correspondence to Janeen Manuel, Ph.D., Departments of Dermatology and Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Atopic dermatitis is a common disease of increasing prevalence. Affected individuals must cope with a significant psychosocial burden, in addition to dealing with the medical aspects of the disease. Furthermore, because this is primarily a disease of childhood, family members, especially parents, are also affected by the condition. Individuals and family members are burdened with time-consuming treatment regimens for the disease, as well as dietary and household changes. The financial impact of atopic dermatitis on families can also be great. Moreover, the cost to society is significant, with estimates ranging from less than $100 to more than $2000 per patient per year. It is estimated that the direct cost of atopic dermatitis in the United States alone is almost $1 billion per year. Reducing the onus of this disease must take into account the full breadth of its burden. Targeting parents and caregivers with education and psychosocial support can decrease family and personal burden, which in turn may decrease the cost of treating the condition because of better medical, psychosocial, and family outcomes.