Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema, occurring in up to 3% of the adult population worldwide, and it is the most common skin disease among children, with the disease commonly occurring by five years of age.

AD is characterised by a defect in the skin barrier, which allows allergens and other irritants to enter the skin, leading to an immune reaction and inflammation. This reaction produces a red, itchy rash, most frequently occurring on the face, arms and legs, and the rash can cover significant areas of the body, in some cases half of the body or more. The rash causes significant pruritus (itching), which can lead to damage caused by scratching or rubbing and perpetuating an ‘itch-scratch’ cycle.

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In 2021, 26 million patients were diagnosed with atopic dermatitis in US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan.

Source:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25925336/

Substantial burden for patients living with atopic dermatitis

AD imposes a substantial burden on both the patient and, particularly in the case of pediatric patients, the parents and family. Pediatric patients with AD can suffer from sleep disturbances, behavioral problems, irritability, crying, interference with normal childhood activities, and social functioning. Parents and families of pediatric patients with AD can also be impacted by a lack of sleep, emotional distress due to their child’s suffering, and added workload caring for the AD patient. Adults with AD also frequently suffer from sleep disturbances, emotional impact, and impaired social functioning. Adults with AD also appear to be at a significantly increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation compared to the general population.

Treatment of AD

The vast majority of atopic dermatitis patients are being treated with topical therapies, particularly topical corticosteroids and topical calcineurin inhibitors. In addition to this, systemic therapies are used in those patients who fail on topical therapy. Use of biologic therapies for atopic dermatitis is currently limited but expected to increase. Some physicians and patients have expressed dissatisfaction with current treatments due to the overall suboptimal symptomatic improvement, poor safety, limited ability to control itch, and limited impact on patient/parent quality of life. 

There are currently no oral therapies approved by the FDA for the treatment of AD that are safe for long-term use and exempt from monitoring.

UNION is developing topical and oral orismilast for the treatment of AD.

Read more about orismilast here