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Home » Dermatology » Understanding the physical and psychological impact of atopic dermatitis

Eddie Guzdar

Medical Franchise Lead, Dermatology and Respiratory, Sanofi UK & IE

Dr Eddie Guzdar from Sanofi UK & Ireland discusses atopic dermatitis and the impact it has on patients.

What is atopic dermatitis and how does it affect people, both physically and psychologically?

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common form of eczema and although we do not fully understand the cause, we think it is a complex interplay between an overactive immune system and a skin barrier not functioning as it should. Physical symptoms are typically dry, itchy, red and inflamed skin.

When particularly severe, it can cause significant psychological stress for patients, impacting on their sleep, personal relationships, work and how they function within society itself. It can affect up to 20% of children and 10% of adults.1

How can we improve the understanding of AD?

From a clinical perspective, there is a need for more scientific research on the causes and underlying mechanisms of AD so we can develop better treatments targets. Our scientific understanding is evolving, but we also need to communicate that to patients to make them more knowledgeable and confident about their condition.

If AD is not managed well, a patient’s physical condition will likely get worse, ultimately leading to more psychological distress.

Why is it so important to help people better manager their atopic dermatitis and how is it treated?

If AD is not managed well, a patient’s physical condition will likely get worse, ultimately leading to more psychological distress. Management involves patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) working closely together within the healthcare system and also depends on the severity. Treatments can range from various creams through to more complex treatments provided in a specialist setting. We also need to raise awareness of what patients are experiencing beyond their physical symptoms so these can also be treated during their dermatology journey in the health system.

What are you as an organisation doing to ensure this condition is better managed?

We provide significant amounts of education to HCP’s on the scientific and clinical aspects of AD but also help patients to become more informed of their condition and therefore more empowered to take control and have better conversations with their healthcare professional.

The website ( contains information, resources and tools to educate patients and a digital app – EZ track which provides information on AD and has a symptom tracker, which can allow a patient to have a more effective clinical consultation with their doctor, therefore hopefully leading to a better management plan.

We have also published a joint report in collaboration with Allergy UK entitled: ‘Not just skin deep: Getting under the skin of eczema’ to highlight the burden those living with severe eczema have to bear.

You mentioned the joint report, can you tell me how it will make a difference?

The report included a survey of patients, healthcare professionals and clinical commissioning groups and highlights the significant mental health concerns among patients with eczema and variations in waiting times across the country.

It presents actionable healthcare solutions to address the issues faced by patients, reform the patient pathway and ultimately improve lives. In addition, it provides a voice for patients to communicate how they feel about their condition but also raises insights from HCPs who are asking for clear, more standardised guidelines on how to manage AD.

The reason we are pushing for guidelines with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) is to ensure that we can standardise dermatology healthcare quality across the UK. The NHS has been under enormous strain due to the pandemic and we also want to ensure that in a post-COVID world, dermatology patients are not forgotten.

What does the future hold for your company in dermatology?

We want to continue to be leading players in the dermatology space and we can do that by leading the science around mechanisms of disease, as well as investing in the development of innovative treatments. We continue to work collaboratively with both patient and healthcare organisations to provide people with the education and tools they need to manage their condition and therefore have an even more positive impact on the lives of patients and the people close to them.

[1]The Lancet. Atopic Dermatitis. Prof SM Langan, et al. 396, 10247, p345-360, August 01, 2020. Available at:

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