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Atopic Dermatitis Is More Than Just a Rash: The Psychosocial Burden

  • Authors: Melinda Gooderham, MD, MSc, FRCP
  • CME / ABIM MOC Released: 5/12/2021
  • Valid for credit through: 5/12/2022
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Target Audience and Goal Statement

This activity is intended for dermatologists, allergists, and clinical immunologists.

The goal of this activity is to improve understanding of the psychosocial burden of atopic dermatitis (AD).

Upon completion of this activity, participants will:

  • Have increased knowledge regarding the
    • Psychological burden of AD
  • Have greater competence related to
    • Assessing the psychosocial impact of AD using patient-reported outcomes


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  • Melinda Gooderham, MD, MSc, FRCP

    Assistant Professor
    Queens University
    Medical Director
    SKiN Centre for Dermatology Investigator with Probity Medical Research
    Peterborough Regional Health Centre
    Peterborough, Ontario, Canada


    Disclosure: Melinda Gooderham, MD, MSc, FRCP, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:
    Served as an advisor or consultant for: AbbVie; Akros; Amgen; Bausch Health; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Celgene; Eli Lilly; Galderma Janssen; Kyowa Kirin; LEO Pharma; MedImmune; Merck; Novartis; Pfizer; Sanofi Genzyme; Sun Pharma; UCB; Valeant
    Served as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for: AbbVie; Amgen; Bausch Health; Boehringer Ingelheim; Celgene; Eli Lilly; Galderma; GlaxoSmithKline; Janssen; LEO Pharma; Merck; Novartis; Pfizer; Regeneron; Roche; Sanofi Genzyme; Sun Pharma; UCB; Valeant
    Received grants for clinical research from: AbbVie; Akros; Amgen; Arcutis; Bausch Health; Boehringer Ingelheim; Bristol Myers Squibb; Celgene; Dermira; Eli Lilly; Galderma; GlaxoSmithKline; Incyte; Janssen; Kyowa Kirin; LEO Pharma; MedImmune; Merck; Novartis; Pfizer; Regeneron; Roche; Sanofi Genzyme; Sun Pharma; UCB; Valeant


  • Briana Betz, PhD

    Medical Education Director, WebMD Global, LLC 


    Disclosure: Briana Betz, PhD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.  

CME Reviewer

  • Robert Morris, PharmD

    Associate Director, Accreditation and Compliance, Medscape, LLC


    Disclosure: Robert Morris, PharmD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships:
    Served as an advisor or consultant for: ViiV Healthcare
    Owns stock, stock options, or bonds from: GlaxoSmithKline

Medscape, LLC staff have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationships.

Peer Reviewer

This activity has been peer reviewed and the reviewer has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Accreditation Statements

Developed through a partnership between Medscape and International Eczema Council.

In support of improving patient care, Medscape, LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

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Atopic Dermatitis Is More Than Just a Rash: The Psychosocial Burden

Authors: Melinda Gooderham, MD, MSc, FRCPFaculty and Disclosures

CME / ABIM MOC Released: 5/12/2021

Valid for credit through: 5/12/2022



Cynthia is 35-year-old kindergarten teacher with a history of childhood eczema that initially developed when she was 1 year old. Her eczema was mild and her parents were able to manage the rash with consistent use of topical treatments. It resolved when she was 5 years old. Until recently, she had not experienced any symptoms as an adult. However, she has recently developed an itchy, red rash on her arms. It has some small, rough bumps that have scabbed over after excessive scratching. The itching bothers her all day long and is interfering with her sleep. She has tried multiple different over-the-counter medications, which have all been ineffective. After trying all available options she has decided she needs more help and has contacted her dermatologist.

Case Study, Part 1

Doctor: Good afternoon, Cynthia. How have you been?

Patient: (raises her arms) I think this says it all. I’ve had this rash for a while now. It itches all the time, and I can’t stop scratching.

Doctor: Does the itching keep you up at night?

Patient: Yes, it does. I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep.

Doctor: Have you tried some of the over-the-counter topical medications or moisturizers?

Patient: Yes, I have. I’m basically bathing in the stuff. I can’t tell you how many tubes I’ve gone through in the past week. It doesn’t help.

Doctor: I see. And there’s the history of eczema.

Patient: Yes, when I was a kid. But I grew out of it. What does that have to do with this?

Doctor: It may explain what you’re seeing now. The eczema is likely coming back.

Patient: But it doesn’t look or feel the same as it did when I was a kid.

Doctor: Well, it does present differently in children than it does in adults.

Patient: Oh great, something else to worry about.

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