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Atopic dermatitis: Current standards of diagnosis and treatment, including the latest methods of management

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Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing disease which causes characteristic eczematous skin lesions. The most common symptoms of atopic dermatitis are persistent pruritus, xerosis, and skin lesions with a typical location and appearance that changes with the patient’s age. The prevalence of the disease in the pediatric population is estimated at 10% to 30%, while in adults it ranges from 1% to 3%. The number of people who suffer from AD is rising every year. The pathophysiology of the disease is complex and multifactorial. It involves elements of epidermal barrier dysfunction, alterations in cellular immune response, IgE hypersensitivity, and environmental factors. AD significantly reduces the quality of life of both patients and their families. Patients with AD are at higher risk for neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and headaches. The decreased quality of life of AD patients and their families is associated with the discomfort of recurrent and chronic inflammatory skin lesions, persistent pruritus, and the inconvenience of long-term therapy. It also affects the psychological development of children, contributes to behavioral disorders (hyperactivity, hypersensitivity) and impacts many areas of family life such as sleep, leisure activities, and relationships between family members. The basic treatment of AD is avoidance of potential harmful factors, proper care in the treatment of exacerbations, topical corticosteroids, and calcineurin inhibitors in proactive therapy. In some patients who meet age criteria, phototherapy and cyclosporine should be considered. In individuals with severe AD who do not respond to topical treatment and who will not benefit from general therapy, dupilumab, a biologic drug, is the treatment of choice. Biologic treatment has an increasingly important place in the effective and modern therapy of AD. Currently, new biologic drugs are being researched, which may bring a therapeutic revolution in AD in the future. Allergen immunotherapy in patients with AD should be carefully evaluated on an individual basis, as proper selection of patients with documented IgE-dependent sensitization is important for the success of this therapy. Close collaboration with the patient and their caregivers, education, and psychological support as appropriate are integral to the treatment.