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Delving Into the Nitty Gritty of AD Nomenclature


Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD, dissects the nomenclature of atopic dermatitis and shares the importance of understanding other conditions under the eczema umbrella.

In the Dermatology Times Expert Perspectives series "Advancements in Atopic Dermatitis: Insights from the 2024 Masterclasses in Dermatology Conference," leading dermatologists discuss the advancements in treatments and data for atopic dermatitis (AD) with hand-foot involvement, diversity in clinical trials, and pearls from the American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) AD treatment guidelines.

In this episode, Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD, clinical associate professor at the Rosalind Franklin University Medical School and founder of the Center for Medical Dermatology and Immunology Research in Chicago, Illinois, dissects the nomenclature of atopic dermatitis and shares the importance of understanding other conditions under the eczema umbrella.

Episode Transcript

Chovatiya: One of the big problems with eczema, AD, dermatitis, atopic eczema, etc. is that we have a lot of words to describe similar but sometimes different concepts. And we oftentimes will mix this terminology around without understanding exactly what we're talking about. Describing this can have profound implications for us not only thinking about disease itself, but also true indications for approved therapies in terms of actually achieving approval.

So, it's important to note that eczema as a descriptor or group of diseases are oftentimes related by certain physical manifestations, changes under the microscope can include not only AD, but a variety of other conditions: contact dermatitis, lichen simplex, neurodermatitis, even seborrheic dermatitis. They all fall under this umbrella AD, which happens to be the most common of the chronic eczema that we think about in day-to-day practice.

But it's additionally important to know that AD is perhaps 1 of many different eczematous disorders that may respond to some of the therapies that are approved for AD. So the challenge that we face now is really trying to understand: should we be splitting or should we be lumping our diseases in order to have better therapeutic outcomes for our patients? I don't have an answer to that question. But I think it's probably important for us to realize that maybe we are indeed looking at a larger family of immunologic diseases that have shared mechanisms. And that might allow us to perhaps reallocate treatments that we may have only thought about for 1 or 2 diseases across a whole family of conditions.

Transcript edited for clarity

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