New patient-friendly online resource compares systemic therapies for treatment of atopic dermatitis

Data aims to help patients and health care providers understand treatment options for atopic dermatitis (eczema) patients

New research published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology examined the relative effectiveness of systemic treatments for patients with atopic dermatitis.

Led by expert dermatologist and long-time ESC medical contributor Dr. Aaron M. Drucker MD, ScM, FRCPC, the study was based on a meta-analysis of 39 randomized clinical trials and included 6,360 patients. In addition to the research project, Dr. Drucker and his team at Women’s College Hospital developed a new online resource – – to help patients and health care providers understand and navigate systemic therapies for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

The study found that systemic therapies cyclosporine and dupilumab may have better short-term effectiveness than methotrexate and azathioprine for the treatment of atopic dermatitis for up to 16 weeks. The program compared not only efficacy and quality of life impact, but also looked at drawbacks including potential side effects.

Systemic treatments are typically used when atopic dermatitis is widespread and/or does not respond to topical therapy. They include pills taken by mouth and injections in the skin.

ESC spoke with Dr. Drucker about his research project and the new patient resources his team developed to help navigate this class of treatment options:

“As new systemic options are due to become available in the near future, we embarked on this project to help clinicians and patients better understand not only the efficacies of available treatments, but how they compare with investigational treatments as well,” said Drucker. “By utilizing a network meta-analysis model, we are able to measure and compare these therapies based on existing clinical data in a timely manner and update our findings as new medications are approved.”

Dr. Drucker tells ESC, “Our hope is that will help patients and doctors better understand these treatments and translate current efficacy data in a way that is both easy to use and easy to understand.”

The site is the direct result of Dr. Drucker’s submission to ESC’s Research Grant Program, which he received in 2018.

“We were delighted to support Dr. Drucker’s research and an online tool that directly helps to improve patient outcomes. It is a perfect example of how ESC donations that go towards Canadian-led research are improving the lives of Canadians living with eczema,” said Dr. Rachel Asiniwasis, Regina-based dermatologist, ESC Board Member, and ESC Research Grant Program Chair.

Dr. Drucker added: “Thank you to ESC for helping us fund this project – we hope our online resource is empowering to patients who may not know what options are available to them or how they work. We hope patients to bring this information to their doctors and feel part of the shared decision-making experience.”

Dr. Aaron Drucker, MD, ScM, FRCPC is a Toronto-based dermatologist with expertise and interest in atopic dermatitis and burden of disease.