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Treat-to-Target in Atopic Dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases among children and adults. Over the last 5 years, the armamentarium for the treatment of this disease, with both topical and systemic drugs, has increased. Treat-to-target is basically the concept where a treatment goal and a time frame for that goal is set at initiation of a new treatment, and if the goals are not achieved in time, treatment will be adjusted. In clinical trials, treatment targets are based on scoring systems for disease severity as recommended by the Harmonizing Outcome Measure for Eczema (HOME) initiative, with the primary endpoint being a reduction of at least 75% of the baseline Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) score (EASI-75). The question, however, is if these are useful targets in real-world settings and how this should be implemented in everyday clinical practice. In rheumatology, setting a measurable target and a time frame for an instigated therapy has been shown to lead to more efficient and successful treatment. For atopic dermatitis, the instruments recommended by HOME form the core outcome measures for the treat-to-target frameworks published to date, which are based on expert consensus and Delphi processes. Although atopic dermatitis patients have a high risk of co-morbidities, including physical, psychological and socioeconomic, instruments to measure the severity of co-morbidities have not been included in these existing frameworks. In order to apply a treat-to-target strategy that is meaningful for both the patient and the doctor, validated tools for the measurement of treatment effect on co-morbidities exist and should be included in a shared decision-making process with the individual patient when choosing which targets to aim for and what should be considered treatment success. An obvious limitation for the implementation of a treat-to-target strategy in the clinical setting with atopic dermatitis is that retrieving the data needed is very time consuming. This could to some degree be mitigated by the use of electronic applications in which patients could report their outcomes.

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