Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Dermatol. 2018 Oct 29;18(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s12895-018-0076-y.

Cost and effectiveness of prescribing emollient therapy for atopic eczema in UK primary care in children and adults: a large retrospective analysis of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

Author information

Mayfield Clinic Summertown, Oxford, OX2 7DE, UK.
Johnson & Johnson Ltd (UK), Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK.
Johnson & Johnson, Inc, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
Janssen Research and Development, LLC, Titusville, NJ, USA.
NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, West Yorkshire, UK.



The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) was used to evaluate the overall costs to the National Health Service, including healthcare utilisation, of prescribing emollients in UK primary care for dry skin and atopic eczema (DS&E).


Primary care patients in the UK were identified using the CPRD and their records were interrogated for the 2 years following first diagnosis of DS&E. Data from patients with (n = 45,218) and without emollient prescriptions (n = 9780) were evaluated. Multivariate regression models were used to compare healthcare utilisation and cost in the two matched groups (age, sex, diagnosis). Two sub-analyses of the Emollient group were performed between matched groups receiving (1) a colloidal oatmeal emollient (Aveeno-First) versus non-colloidal oatmeal emollients (Aveeno-Never) and (2) Aveeno prescribed first-line (Aveeno-First) versus prescribed Aveeno later (Aveeno-Subsequently). Logistic regression models calculated the odds of prescription with either potent / very potent topical corticosteroids (TCS) or skin-related antimicrobials.


Costs per patient were £125.80 in Emollient (n = 7846) versus £128.13 in Non-Emollient (n = 7846) matched groups (p = 0.08). The Emollient group had fewer visits/patient (2.44 vs. 2.66; p < 0.0001) and lower mean per-visit costs (£104.15 vs. £113.25; p < 0.0001), compared with the Non-Emollient group. Non-Emollient patients had 18% greater odds of being prescribed TCS and 13% greater odds of being prescribed an antimicrobial than Emollient patients. In the Aveeno-First (n = 1943) versus Aveeno-Never (n = 1943) sub-analysis, costs per patient were lower in the Aveeno-First compared with the Aveeno-Never groups (£133.46 vs. £141.11; p = 0.0069). The Aveeno-Never group had ≥21% greater odds of being prescribed TCS or antimicrobial than the Aveeno-First group. In the Aveeno-First (n = 1357) versus Aveeno-Subsequently (n = 1357) sub-analysis, total costs were lower in the Aveeno-First group (£140.35 vs. £206.43; p < 0.001). Patients in the Aveeno-Subsequently group had 91% greater odds of being prescribed TCS and 75% greater odds of being prescribed an antimicrobial than the Aveeno-First group.


Acknowledging limitations from unknown disease severity in the CRPD, the prescription of emollients to treat DS&E was associated with fewer primary care visits, reduced healthcare utilisation and reduced cost. Prescribing emollients, especially those containing colloidal oatmeal, was associated with fewer TCS and antimicrobial prescriptions.


The study is registered at .


Antimicrobial; Atopic dermatitis; CPRD; Colloidal oatmeal; Eczema; Emollient; Healthcare utilisation; Topical steroid

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center