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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2002 Mar;3(3):249-55.

Pharmacoeconomics of drug therapy for atopic dermatitis.

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Leeds Centre of Dermatology, Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3EX, UK.


Atopic dermatitis is an increasingly prevalent common childhood disease. While the majority of patients have mild disease, atopic dermatitis can cause considerable distress to patients and their caregivers, with significant social and financial cost to families. With a prevalence of 15 - 20% in Western countries, atopic dermatitis also has a considerable health and societal cost to the community. Many new treatments have been shown to be therapeutically effective, particularly in severe disease, including cyclosporin A (Neoral, Novartis AG), interferon, tacrolimus (Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.) and iv. immunoglobulin. These are expensive when compared to standard treatments like emollients and topical corticosteroids and have significant adverse effects that limit their use. Additional costs related to monitoring are incurred and the long-term safety of these treatments is yet to be determined. However, an advantage over more traditional therapies is their ability to produce benefits even after treatment ceases. Treatments that produce long-term remissions have a greater likelihood of being cost-effective. With monetary constraints on healthcare and the importance governments place on reducing drug costs, economic evaluations are becoming an increasingly important factor for drug acceptance. Those evaluating cost-effectiveness should pay particular attention to the potential reduction in indirect and intangible costs. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of cost-effectiveness studies in atopic eczema and this needs to be addressed with some urgency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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