A Checklist to Aid in Identifying Patients with Atopic Dermatitis Who are Candidates for Systemic Therapy

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Jonathan Silverberg
Matthias Augustin
Lawrence Eichenfield
Peter Lio
Emma Guttman-Yassky
Amber Reck Atwater
Evangeline Pierce
Maria Jose Rueda
Alvin Li
Yolanda Munoz Maldonado
Eric Simpson


Atopic dermatitis, systemic therapy


Introduction: The decision to initiate systemic therapy (ST) in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) is complex, with no criteria that are globally agreed upon. To aid dermatology providers in this decision-making, the “When to Start Systemic Therapy Checklist” was developed. The checklist comprises three components: (A) clinical severity, (B) subjective burden, and (C) lack of treatment response, each with several criteria. Systemic therapy is indicated when at least one criterion in each component is fulfilled. To corroborate the validity of this checklist, we evaluated the agreement between the decision to initiate ST using the checklist, against the reference, CorEvitas AD Registry patients prescribed a ST.

Methods: Adults with moderate-to-severe AD from the prospective, longitudinal CorEvitas AD registry were included in this descriptive analysis (July 2020 – August 2023). Patients were included if they were initiating ST at enrollment (ST group) or not initiating ST at enrollment (non-ST group) but had vIGA-AD® ≥3 and Eczema Area Severity Index ≥12. The checklist criteria were compared against registry outcome measures; when a criterion did not match a measure, either a proxy measure was selected or that part of the questionnaire was excluded. Overall percentage agreement (accord between checklist criteria and ST initiation status [reference standard]) with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) was calculated.

Results: In the ST group (n=1488), 97.0% of patients met at least one criterion from section A, 94.1% from section B, and 92.1% for either section A or B. In the non-ST group (n=208), 100% of patients met at least one criterion from section A, 92.3% from section B, and 92.3% from either section A or B. Among patients in the ST group who met at least one criterion each from section A and B, overall percentage agreement was 81.7% (95% CI: 79.8%, 83.5%). Section C, which addresses “lack of treatment response” could not be evaluated due to the absence of relevant data in the registry.

Discussion: Nearly all patients initiating ST met at least one criterion from both section A and B of the “When to Start Systemic Therapy Checklist”, demonstrating a strong alignment between the checklist sections A and B and disease burden of AD patients in the registry. Subsequent research is needed to assess section C due to registry limitations. Future analyses should examine why some patients with high disease burden and severity remain untreated with systemics.


1. Siegels D, et al., Systemic treatments in the management of atopic dermatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2021 Apr;76(4):1053-1076.

2. Simpson EL, et al., When does atopic dermatitis warrant systemic therapy? Recommendations from an expert panel of the International Eczema Council. J Am AcadDermatol. 2017 Oct;77(4):623-633.

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