Atopic Dermatitis: Perspectives and Attitudes of Adult Patients and Affected Child Caregivers Assessed by Focus Group

Keywords: Calcineurin Inhibitors, Child, Dermatitis, Atopic, Focus Groups, Quality of Life


Introduction: Important dimensions such as personal experiences, attitudes toward disease, its causes and treatments, are not fully addressed in clinical trials. Focus group (FG) has emerged as an interesting and valuable tool in clinical research complementing this gap. The aim of this qualitative research was to assess in both caregivers and patients dealing with atopic dermatitis (AD) their attitudes, personal experiences and perspectives toward the disease and its topical treatment as well as the impact in quality of life (QoL).

Material and Methods: For discussion sessions, 10 caregivers of children and 10 adult patients were recruited. Two sessions of FG took place with 3 main themes discussed: perspectives toward AD, topical treatments and the impact in QoL. All activities were recorded in video and the discussions and notes were then transcribed to a document, followed by transcripts analysis.

Results: The best descriptive feelings in the moment of diagnosis where “concern” (30%) and “quality of life” (30%) for caregivers and patients, respectively. The actual “positive” emotion or state of mind toward the disease was “overcoming” for caregivers (21%) and “control” for patients (17%). The main “negative or neutral” emotion was “fear” for caregivers (13%) and “resignation” for patients (18%), but when projecting to their child, “frustration” (19%) was the most mentioned. In relation to topical treatments, the mean global satisfaction of caregivers was high for tacrolimus (8.5/10), except in the item “price”. In the case of patients, corticosteroids received a better score (8.0/10), with exception for “tolerability/adverse effects”. Features like “preventive treatment with reduction of flares” and “free of cortisone” were important for both participants in an “ideal topical medicine” setting. All participants showed high levels of negative impact in their QoL due to AD, with 47% and 64.6% considering scores of “very much” and “a lot” of interference, respectively.

Conclusion: Qualitative studies in AD by FG are scarce and to our knowledge this is the first one gathering both adult patients and caregivers. The dimensions yielded by this approach are useful to complement data retrieved from clinical trials and to drive decisions from researchers and health authorities.


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How to Cite
Mota, A. (2018). Atopic Dermatitis: Perspectives and Attitudes of Adult Patients and Affected Child Caregivers Assessed by Focus Group. Journal of the Portuguese Society of Dermatology and Venereology, 76(4), 399-408.
Original Articles