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An Innovative Boom in Dermatology: Opportunities and Challenges

Dermatology TimesDermatology Times, May 2023 (Vol. 44. No. 05)
Volume 44
Issue 05

In this month's letter from the Editor in Chief, Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, discusses the latest advances and opportunities in the field of dermatology.

Zoe Diana Draelos, MD

Editor in Chief

Zoe Diana Draelos, MD

Editor in Chief

Dermatology is experiencing an innovation boom allowing dermatologists to address diseases that have never had good medical treatment options. Drugs for alopecia areata, vitiligo, hidradenitis suppurativa, paresthetica neuralgia, and seborrheic dermatitis are either recently approved, entering the approval process, or completing the final studies for registration. No on-label drugs previously existed for these conditions. Our understanding of the skin’s immune system and our increasingly sophisticated manipulation of the skin’s immune system have fueled many of the new drugs such as expanded biologic options for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, topical JAK inhibitors for atopic dermatitis, and oral selective JAK inhibitors for psoriasis, to name a few. We have a variety of unique drugs that interrupt the inflammatory pathway at various key points through different mechanisms of action. To continue this innovation boom in dermatology, we must learn how to use these new drugs, identify the appropriate patients for use, figure out how to get insurance reimbursement for the drugs, and understand how to transition between active disease treatment vs disease maintenance. These are challenges for each dermatologist and for the specialty as a whole.

The 2023 American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, was a valuable opportunity to hear cutting-edge lectures about the new drug approvals and share treatment experiences to optimize our prescribing capabilities. Regrettably, no dermatologist could attend all the informative sessions occurring simultaneously. This is where I can assist as the editor in chief of Dermatology Times®. In this month’s issue, you can find top takeaways in research findings presented at AAD in a quick, enjoyable read to prepare for questions from patients who may see new drugs advertised on television.

Acne is 1 of the top 4 conditions that we commonly treat. There are new combination drugs containing clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, and adapalene on the horizon. Our colleague Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, shares the proper antibiotic stewardship, which is essential for any physician to consider. Ongoing acne research is examining mechanisms of inhibiting the inflammatory response to Cutibacterium acnes through biologics or by altering the microbiome on the skin surface to decrease the population of C acnes through bacteriophages or competing nonpathogenic bacterial strains.

There is also a call to action in many health care specialties to address access, treatment, and recognition of conditions in patients with skin of color. In my Cosmetic Conundrums column this month, discover the hair care regimens and tools for different hair types and textures. I will continue to delve into important appearance-related issues in my Cosmetic Conundrum columns to provide medically accurate information you can share with patients or incorporate into your knowledge base. This information is sometimes difficult to find and validate in the popular press or on the Internet and I am happy to share pearls from my 30 years of experience working in the skin and hair care industry.

I enjoy being the editor in chief of Dermatology Times. My goal, and the goal of the publisher, is to capsulize the information that you need to have now. You can see the most cutting-edge information out there. Then maybe a year later, you will read an article in a well-regarded journal about the same topic. Knowing what’s happening now—that’s critical to being a well-informed dermatologist.

Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, is an adjunct assistant professor of dermatology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and Editor in Chief of Dermatology Times.

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