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    Guidelines diverge around atopic dermatitis management


    Areas of agreement

    As a panel member on the JTF AD workgroup and co-author of the JTF guidelines, Dr. Lio shares his insider’s perspective. He notes that the AAD and JTF guidelines agree on certain fundamental tenets for AD management. According to both, topical corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, and moisturizers are mainstays of treatment; there is insufficient evidence to recommend specialty moisturizers or prescription barrier creams; when AD is controlled, maintenance (proactive) therapy is useful for preventing a flare; topical antihistamines have no role; and wet wraps are helpful for managing a flare.

    Areas of disagreement

    “However, there are a number of differences, which is particularly interesting when considered from the perspective that both sets of guidelines were developed based on review of the same evidence,” Dr. Lio says.

    A role for vitamin D supplementation is one topic on which the guidelines diverge. Whereas the AAD guidelines say there is not sufficient evidence to recommend its use, the JTF guideline states patients with AD may benefit from vitamin D supplementation. Dr. Lio notes that his personal view is consistent with the JTF guideline.

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    “The available evidence in this area goes both ways, but one has to wonder if the conflicting results can be explained by differences in their enrolled populations and if there may be a subgroup of patients who are likely to benefit from vitamin D supplementation and we don’t know yet who they are,” he says.

    “Vitamin D supplementation may be worth a try considering it may do some good, is inexpensive, and is unlikely to cause harm,” he says.

    The two sets of guidelines also differ in their interpretations of evidence on controlling AD by choosing certain clothing fabrics and laundering practices. The AAD guidelines find evidence in these areas is unclear whereas the JTF guideline supports laundering techniques that might limit patient exposure to chemicals used in clothing manufacturing and residuals from laundry detergents.

    ALSO READ: Managing severe pediatric atopic dermatitis

    A role of potential dietary triggers is another point on which the two guidelines disagree. The AAD guideline supports a diagnostic elimination diet only if there seems to be a consistent correlation between symptoms and food intake. The allergists are more amenable to this approach, stating evaluation of allergies to milk, eggs, peanut, wheat, and soy could be considered in children <5 years old with persistent moderate-to-severe AD in spite of optimized management and/or if the child has a reliable history of an immediate reaction after ingesting a specific food.

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