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Dermatitis. 2019 Sep/Oct;30(5):287-293. doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000523.

Clinical Pearls on Sleep Management in Atopic Dermatitis.

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From the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.
Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, TX.
Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson.


Multiple etiologies contribute to sleep disturbance in atopic dermatitis (AD) patients, including learned scratching behavior and increased monoamines, cutaneous blood flow, inflammatory cell activities, and cytokines, as well as decreased melatonin, anti-inflammatory cytokines, and skin barrier function. Insomnia impairs cognitive development in children with AD, leading to behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Insomnia in adults with AD impedes work productivity. In this article, we discuss pearls on improving insomnia through both nonpharmacologic modalities, such as environmental adjustments and massage therapy, and pharmaceutical approaches including melatonin, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, mirtazapine, and benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine sedatives. Future investigations should further delineate the mechanistic link between insomnia and AD exacerbation and identify strategies to combat sleep-related disease burden.

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