Diagnosis and Management of Atopic Dermatitis for Primary Care Providers

Patrick Fleming, MD, MSc, FRCPC; Yue Bo Yang, BSc; Charles Lynde, MD, FRCPC; Braden O'Neill, MD, DPhil, CCFP; Kyle O. Lee, BM, BS, CCFP


J Am Board Fam Med. 2020;33(4):626-635. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Objective: To provide primary care providers an up-to-date approach to the diagnosis and management of atopic dermatitis (AD).

Quality of Evidence: PubMed, Cochrane, and MEDLINE databases were searched for relevant meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and observational studies about the diagnosis and management of AD.

Main Message: AD is a common chronic skin disease characterized by immune dysregulation and skin barrier dysfunction. It has a substantial impact on quality of life across all ages. Despite this, AD is often still undertreated due to inaccurate diagnoses, even by many experienced dermatologists. Many primary care providers may not be aware of its commonly associated medical and psychiatric comorbidities or be familiar with new treatment options.

Conclusion: In this clinical review, we describe the pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of AD, specifically highlighting commonly used therapies and novel medications.