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Many US Patients Pay $1K or More Out-of-Pocket Annually to Manage Atopic Dermatitis

March 24, 2021

More than 40% of US patients with atopic dermatitis or their caregivers say they spend $1000 or more out of pocket annually to manage the condition, according to a study published online in Dermatitis. 

“Using a survey-based approach to highlight the perspective of atopic dermatitis patients and caregivers in the United States, we found a wide array of previously unreported out-of-pocket expenses in medical, nonmedical, and supportive health care categories,” researchers wrote. 

Some 1118 adults with atopic dermatitis or caregivers of patients with atopic dermatitis participated in the online survey. 

Out-of-pocket expenses associated with atopic dermatitis management reported by respondents fell into three categories, according to the study: (1) health care visits and prescriptions; (2) nonprescription health care products; and (3) complementary care items. 

In addition to co-pays and deductibles for office visits and prescriptions, most respondents paid out of pocket for moisturizers, itch relievers, allergy medications, hygiene products, dietary supplements, and specialized cleaning supplies, researchers reported. Nearly half reported out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions not covered by insurance, pain relievers, dressings, and transportation/parking. Sleep aids, alternative or adjunctive therapies, and specialized clothing were other common out-of-pocket expenses.

Respondents paid an estimated median $600 out of pocket annually. Some 41.9% reported annual out-of-pocket expenses totaling $1000 or more; 8.5% reported out-of-pocket expenses of $5000 or more. 

“In conclusion, out-of-pocket expenses for individuals with atopic dermatitis are broad and occupy a number of unique health care categories,” researchers wrote. “Health care providers and patients should be cognizant of these costs and engage in shared decision making to create a treatment plan that minimizes financial burden.” 

Jolynn Tumolo


Smith Begolka W, Chovatiya R, Thibau IJ, Silverberg JI. Financial Burden of Atopic Dermatitis Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses in the United States [published online ahead of print, 2020 Dec 14]. Dermatitis. 2020;10.1097/DER.0000000000000715. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000715

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