Itch is a complex symptom that is both common and burdensome in atopic dermatitis (AD). Yet, little is known about the longitudinal course of itch in AD. A prospective, dermatology practice-based study was performed of adults with AD (n = 463). Patients were assessed at baseline and approximately 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Itch was assessed using Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) average and worst-itch scores, and frequency of itch in the past week. Repeated-measures regression models were constructed to examine itch over time. Overall, 31.5% and 22.5% had moderate (4-6) or severe (7-10) NRS average-itch scores; 27.4% and 36.4% had moderate (4-6) or severe (7-10) NRS worst-itch scores; 12.7% and 62.0% had itch from eczema 3-4 and ≥ 5 days in the past week; 27.4% and 45.1% reported sometimes and often/almost always having itch, respectively. Among patients with baseline moderate (4-6) or severe (7-10) NRS average-itch scores, 21.2% and 16.3% continued to have moderate or severe scores at ≥ 1 follow-up visits. In repeated-measures regression models, persistent NRS average-itch scores were associated with baseline NRS average-itch [adjusted β (95% CI): 0.75 (0.68, 0.82)] and food allergy [- 0.45 (- 0.84, - 0.07)]. Persistent NRS worst-itch was associated with baseline worst-itch NRS [0.73 (0.66, 0.80)] and Medicaid insurance [1.06 (0.17, 1.94)]. AD patients had a heterogeneous longitudinal course with fluctuating and complex overlapping patterns of average- and worst-itch intensity, and frequency.
- Atopic dermatitis