What is the prognosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema)?

Updated: Aug 02, 2019
  • Author: Brian S Kim, MD, MTR, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Most patients improve; this can occur at any age. While the frequency of atopic dermatitis (AD) is as high as 20% in childhood, [37] it is 0.9% in adults. One third of patients develop allergic rhinitis. One third of patients develop asthma.

In a longitudinal study of 7157 children and adolescents with AD from the Pediatric Eczema Elective Registry, researchers found that symptoms of mild to moderate AD are likely to persist into the teen years or beyond. [38, 39, 40]

Approximately two-thirds of the patients were followed for at least 2 years and the rest were followed for at least 5 years. From ages 2 to 26 years, more than 80% of patients reported having continued symptoms and/or use of topical medications to control symptoms. By age 20, approximately half of the patients had experienced at least one 6-month symptom- and medication-free period. Living in southern states, having a relative with an atopic illness, and exposure to pollen, wool, pets, cigarettes, fumes, some foods or drinks, and soaps/detergents were linked to persistent symptoms. [38, 39, 40]


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