The ETFAD Statement Atopic Dermatitis Treatment During COVID-19

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Asian Beauty woman in a green shirt wearing a mask are scratching her arms.
Treatment guidelines are provided and vigilance recommended by the European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis.

The European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis (ETFAD) recommends all doctors treating patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) to remain vigilant and updated through international, national and local guidelines, local health authorities’ homepages and the WHO homepage regarding the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2)-infection. These suggestions were published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Treatment with immune-modulating systemic drugs are often required for patients severely affected with AD. The coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) pandemic presents a major health threat, specifically for the elderly, immune-compromised and those with comorbidities. The ETFAD addressed several questions about the continuation of systemic immune-modulating treatment in AD patients.

The ETFAD recommends the continuation of all immune-modulating treatments and to strictly adhere to recommendations issued by the local health agencies. Careful hygienic procedures should also be maintained. For patients with AD who are diagnosed with COVID-19, interdisciplinary risk assessment should be conducted first. Based on current guidelines on active infections and systemic therapy, immune-modulating therapy may or may not be paused afterwards. If systemic treatment is paused, it is recommended that patients be supplied with ample topical therapy and guidance on the amount needed until systemic therapy is reinitiated. Lastly, disseminated viral skin infection such as eczema herpeticum, herpes zoster infection, or seasonal nasopharyngitis seen in patients with AD may potentially serve as disease models for addressing COVID-19 infection in patients with AD on systemic therapy, although conclusions cannot be completely drawn due to limited data. The ETFAD does not know how COVID-19 affects patients with AD and specifically those on immune-modulating therapies.

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The ETFAD suggests hyper vigilance and the monitoring of local, national, and international guidelines.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared conflicts of interest. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Wollenberg A, Flohr C, Simon D. European Task Force on Atopic Dermatitis (ETFAD) statement on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2)-infection and atopic dermatitis (published online March 18, 2020). J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. doi: 10.1111/jdv.16411