Background: Adherence in the treatment of chronic inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis is poor. Methods to improve adherence have proven difficult.
Purpose: To determine whether a short course of treatment with a high-potency corticosteroid will improve adherence compared to longer treatment studies and if improvement in disease and itch continues after treatment.
Methods: 10 patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis were instructed to apply fluocinonide 0.1% cream twice daily for 5 days. Adherence was self-reported and electronically monitored. Treatment outcomes were assessed in terms of Visual Analog Scale of Itch (VAS), Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), and Investigator Global Assessment (IGA) scores.
Results: The median adherence rate was 40% (range of 0-100). The median percent change in VAS from baseline measures on days 7 and 14 were 90% (range -13, 100, p=0.02) and 52% (range 0, 100, p=0.004). On days 7 and 14, 20% and 70% patients achieved an EASI-75 and 40% and 60% an IGA of 0 or 1.
Limitations: Small sample size limited subgroup analyses.
Conclusions: Adherence rates with short-term treatment were similar to previously reported rates in longer term treatment studies. However, even non-adherent patients had significant improvement in itch and disease severity.