Systemic treatment of children and adolescents with atopic dermatitis aged ≥2 years: a Delphi consensus project mapping expert opinion in Northern Europe

M de Graaf, S R Janmohamed, M L A Schuttelaar, T Agner, J H Alfonso, S De Schepper, M Deleuran, K Despontin, V Elenius, P-D Ghislain, L Huilaja, E K Johansson, B K Kvenshagen, J M Mandelin, H Olset, A Svensson, A M van Tuyll van Serooskerken, J P Thyssen, C Vestergaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Paediatric atopic dermatitis (AD) can be burdensome, affecting mental health and impairing quality of life for children and caregivers. Comprehensive guidelines exist for managing paediatric AD, but practical guidance on using systemic therapy is limited, particularly for new therapies including biologics and Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, recently approved for various ages in this indication.

OBJECTIVES: This expert consensus aimed to provide practical recommendations within this advancing field to enhance clinical decision-making on the use of these and other systemics for children and adolescents aged ≥2 years with moderate-to-severe AD.

METHODS: Nineteen physicians from Northern Europe were selected for their expertise in managing childhood AD. Using a two-round Delphi process, they reached full or partial consensus on 37 statements.

RESULTS: Systemic therapy is recommended for children aged ≥2 years with a clear clinical diagnosis of severe AD and persistent disease uncontrolled after optimizing non-systemic therapy. Systemic therapy should achieve long-term disease control and reduce short-term interventions. Recommended are cyclosporine A for short-term use (all ages) and dupilumab or methotrexate for long-term use (ages ≥6 years). Consensus was not reached on the best long-term systemics for children aged 2-6 years, although new systemic therapies will likely become favourable: New biologics and JAK inhibitors will soon be approved for this age group, and more trial and real-world data will become available.

CONCLUSIONS: This article makes practical recommendations on the use of systemic AD treatments for children and adolescents, to supplement international and regional guidelines. It considers the systemic medication that was available for children and adolescents with moderate-to-severe AD at the time this consensus project was done: azathioprine, cyclosporine A, dupilumab, methotrexate, mycophenolate mofetil and oral glucocorticosteroids. We focus on the geographically similar Northern European countries, whose healthcare systems, local preferences for AD management and reimbursement structures nonetheless differ significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2153-2165
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Azathioprine/therapeutic use
  • Biological Products/therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclosporine/therapeutic use
  • Delphi Technique
  • Dermatitis, Atopic/therapy
  • Expert Testimony
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use
  • Janus Kinases
  • Methotrexate/therapeutic use
  • Mycophenolic Acid/therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life


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