Doctor Visits Up for Kids' Eczema
Trend Stronger for African-American and Asian Children
Sept. 4, 2007 -- The number of doctor visits for children with atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) has risen in recent years, new research
A study published in September's edition of the journal Pediatrics
traces the trend.
The study shows that there were 620,000 pediatric visits for atopic
dermatitis in 1997. That number rose to 1.7 million pediatric visits in 2003
and dropped to 850,000 doctor visits in 2004.
Those figures are based on two large CDC databases that track medical care
for children and teens.
The trend was stronger for African-American and Asian children than for
white children, and for toddlers and young kids, compared with older children
The researchers -- who included dermatologist Karen Horii, MD, of Children's
Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. -- aren't sure what accounts
for the trend.
Perhaps atopic dermatitis, which is already children's most common
inflammatory skin disease, is becoming even more common. Or maybe doctors are
getting better at diagnosing it, Horii's team suggests.
The 2003 peak in pediatric visits for atopic dermatitis may be linked to a
new class of eczema drugs called topical calcineurin inhibitors that debuted
that year. The buzz about those drugs may have prompted some parents to take
their children to the pediatrician, the researchers speculate.
But another class of drugs, topical corticosteroids, are kids' typical
atopic dermatitis prescription -- and most doctors didn't write prescriptions for kids' atopic dermatitis, the study
Because the data focus on doctor visits, not the number of patients, it's
not clear how many kids had all those appointments with doctors. Some children
may have had several appointments for their atopic dermatitis.