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Allergy. 2018 Mar;73(3):696-704. doi: 10.1111/all.13320. Epub 2017 Nov 24.

The prevalence of atopic dermatitis beyond childhood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.

Author information

1
Program for Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, CA, USA.
2
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
3
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, CA, USA.
5
Faculty of Epidemiology & Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There are sparse and conflicting data regarding the long-term clinical course of atopic dermatitis (AD). Although often described as a childhood disease, newer population-based estimates suggest the prevalence of pediatric and adult disease may be similar.

METHODS:

Our objective was to determine whether there is a decline in the prevalence of AD in population-based cohorts of patients followed longitudinally beyond childhood. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis including studies assessing AD prevalence across 3 or more points in time. The primary outcome was weighted overall risk difference (percentage decrease in AD prevalence).

RESULTS:

Of 2080 references reviewed, 7 studies with 13 515 participants were included. Participants were assessed at 3-6 time points, ranging from age 3 months to 26 years. The percentage decrease in prevalence after age 12 was 1%, which was not significantly different from zero (95% confidence interval -2%-5%). Similar results were found with other age cut-offs.

CONCLUSION:

The prevalence of AD in longitudinal birth cohort studies is similar in childhood and adolescence/early adulthood.

KEYWORDS:

atopic dermatitis; atopic eczema; eczema; natural history; prevalence

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