Strategies used for measuring long-term control in atopic dermatitis trials: A systematic review

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Abstract

Background:

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. There are no standardized methods for capturing long-term control of AD.

Objective:

We sought to identify how long-term control has been captured in published randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Results will initiate consensus discussions on how best to measure long-term control in the core outcome set for AD.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic review of RCTs of AD treatments published between 2000 and 2013, with a follow-up period of 3 months or longer, at least 1 outcome measure recorded at 3 or more time points, full article available, and published in English.

Results:

In all, 101 of 353 RCTs were eligible. Methods to capture long-term control included: repeated measurement of AD outcomes (92 RCTs; 91%), use of AD medication (29 RCTs; 28.7%), and AD flares/remissions (26 RCTs; 25.7%). Repeated measurements of AD outcomes were typically collected 3 to 5 times during a trial, but analysis methods often failed to make best use of the data. Time to first flare was most commonly used for trials including flare data (21/52). Medication use was recorded based on quantity, potency, and frequency of application.

Limitations:

We included RCT data only.

Conclusion:

This review illustrates the difficulties in measuring long-term control, and points to the need for improved harmonization of outcomes.

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