Adult Eczema Conditions


Adult Eczema Conditions

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a common, recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin disease in which the skin becomes red, dry, itchy or scaly and may weep, bleed or crust over
  • Australia has one of the highest incidences of eczema world-wide 1
  • It is estimated that more than a million Australians suffer from eczema 1,2,3
  • 5% of adults aged 18 and over have eczema3
  • About 30% of adults with eczema suffer from facial eczema4
  • Around 90 per cent of people with eczema develop symptoms by the age of 5 years5
  • Approximately 50 per cent of adults complain of sensitive skin6
  • The incidence of atopic dermatitis (eczema) and contact dermatitis has tripled in the last 50 years and has been linked to a range of environmental factors7


    The skin barrier

  • The skin barrier is the outermost layer of skin which protects the body from the environment7
  • In eczema-prone skin, there are less layers of skin cells resulting in a thinner skin barrier6
  • The addition of irritants such as soap and detergents on eczema-prone skin breaks down the skin barrier, allowing the entry of irritants and allergens which triggers an eczema flare6
  • Prolonged use of steroid creams damages the skin barrier and causes skin thinning and irreversible damage to the skin8


    Genes and the environment

  • A person with both parents who have eczema has a 50% chance of developing the disease6
  • A person with both parents who have an atopic condition such as eczema, asthma or hayfever, has an 80% chance of developing eczema9
  • Although eczema is mostly hereditary, around 30% of people affected by eczema do not have a family history of allergic diseases9
  • Soaps and detergents are a common irritant and can trigger flares of eczema7
  • Soaps and detergents have been shown to reduce the skin barrier by 40%6
  • Triggers of eczema can include stress, foods, preservatives, chemicals, pollens, dust mites, toiletries and weather conditions1
  • A change of season can trigger an eczema 'flare up'. Research has shown more than half of people with eczema believe that their flares are worse in spring1


    Elidel - a non-steroidal cream

  • Elidel belongs to a group of non-steroidal creams known as topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs) 10
  • Elidel cream is the only TCI available in Australia for eczema10
  • Elidel cream does not cause break down in the skin barrier5 or thinning of the skin11
  • Elidel cream works on the skin and is specific to the T-cells which cause redness and itching in eczema very early on in the cycle12,13,14
  • Intermittent use of non-steroidal creams at the first sign of flare keeps patients flare-free for significantly longer15


    The cost and impact of eczema

    People with eczema can spend up to $1,200 annually on treatments, depending on the severity of their eczema16 Eczema has a significant impact on quality of life and may affect daily routines1 On average, people with eczema spend 1 out of every 3 days in a flare17 During flares people avoid everyday activities, suffer from sleep disturbances and have to take time off school / work.17



    1. Marks R et al. The prevalence of common skin conditions in Australian school student: 2. Atopic Dermatits. British Journal of Dermatology 1999; 140: 468-473
    2. Foley P et al. The frequency of common skin Conditions in preschool-age children in Australia Arch Dermatol 2001; 137: 293-300
    3. Plunkett A et al. The frequency of common non malignant skin condition in adults in central Victoria, Australia International Journal of Dermatology 1999,38,901-908
    4. Bannister M, Freeman S. Adult-onset atopic dermatitis. Australasian Journal of Dermatology (2000) 41, 225-228.
    5. Su J et al. Atopic eczema: its impact on the family and financial cost. Arch Dis Child 1997; 76: 159-162.
    6. Cork et al. Predisposition to sensitive skin and atopic eczema. Community Practitioner 2005; 78, 12: 440-442.
    7. Cork et al. New perspectives on epidermal barrier dysfunction in atopic dermatitis: gene-environment interactions. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 118: 3-21.
    8. Hoetzenecker W et al. Pimecrolimus leads to an apoptosis-induced depletion of T Cells but not Langerhans cells in patients with atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005; 115 (6) 1276-83.9. Lieberman, P et al. Allergic Diseases, Diagnosis and Treatment 2nd Ed. Humana Press, New Jersey.
    10. Elidel Product Information, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, 2006.
    11. Therapeutic Guidelines Dermatology, Version 2, 2004.
    12. Hultsch T et al. Dermatology 211, 2005: 174-187.
    13. Grassberger M et al. A novel anti-inflammatory drug, SDZASM981, for the treatment of skin diseases in vitro pharmacology. Br J Dermatol 1999; 141(1): 264-73. III F 47 156.
    14. Meingassner J et al. A novel anti-inflammatory drug, SDZ ASM 981, for the topical and oral treatment of skin diseases in vivo pharmacology. Br J Dermatol 1997; 137(1):568-76.
    15. Meurer et al. Pimecroliums cream in the long-term management of atopic dermatitis in adults: a six-month study. Dermatology 2002; 205: 271-277
    16. Kemp A. Cost of illness of atopic dermatitis in children. A societal perspective. Pharmacoeconomics 2003; 21 (2): 105-113.
    17. Zuberbier T et al. Patient perspectives on the management of atopic dermatitis (ISOLATE). J Allergy and Clin Immunol 2006; 118: 226-32.



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