April Armstrong, MD, MPH, of University of California, Los Angeles, explained that the main health care gap within the atopic dermatitis (AD) realm is that many clinicians are not comfortable prescribing systemic medications.
April Armstrong, MD, MPH, professor and chief of dermatology at University of California, Los Angeles, identified gaps when treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis (AD), including the lack of clinicians comfortable with prescribing patients systemic medications.
What are some of the main health care gaps you are seeing in either your own practice or more generally when treating moderate to severe AD?
I think some of the health care gaps that we see in treating patients with moderate to severe [AD] as a field are still that we don't have that many clinicians comfortable in prescribing, for example, systemic medications for these patients who warrant systemic medications.
I think that we, as a field, are improving over time in terms of our comfort with these different types of medications, but when we look at the scope of how many patients are affected vs how many of them are actually on adequate therapy, there is a gap. Now, when we look at that gap, there can be a number of reasons. One is potentially the clinicians may not be as comfortable; the other is, of course, insurance coverage for these medications. Many of them would require insurance coverage for patients to have any access to it, so I think that is important to consider.
Then, finally, I think, for patients, too, it's important to augment our education in general for our patients so they understand how these newer medications work for them, what they can do, what the safety profile looks like. I think it's a multipronged problem, and so, in order to close the gap, we want to close and then address each of these different prongs to this problem.