What's in a name? Atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, but not eczema alone

J. I. Silverberg, J. P. Thyssen, A. S. Paller, A. M. Drucker, A. Wollenberg, K. H. Lee, K. Kabashima, G. Todd, P. Schmid-Grendelmeier, T. Bieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The ideal nomenclature of atopic dermatitis (AD) / atopic eczema (AE) has long been contested. However, it is becoming increasinglSy clear that the disparate nomenclature of this disease may have important deleterious ramifications for clinical care and research. Materials and Methods: An electronic questionnaire regarding the preferred nomenclature for AD was sent to councilors of the International Eczema Council (IEC) (n=77), an international group of clinicians and researchers with expertise in AD/AE. The survey consisted of 2 questions for consensus regarding the preference for an atopic prefix, and preference for the term AD or AE, and an exploratory question about the acceptability of the terms AD, AE or eczema. Consensus was defined a priori as at least 90% agreement for each question with a response rate of at least 90%. Results: Seventy-one of 77 (92.2%) IEC councilors and associates responded to the survey, with all respondents completing the entire survey. Consensus was reached for question 1, with 69 of 71 respondents (97.2%) preferring the atopic prefix. However, consensus was not reached for question 2, with 40 respondents (58.0%) preferring the term AD and 30 (43,5%) preferring AE. Sixty-three respondents (88.7%) and 55 (77.5%) felt that the terms AD and AE were acceptable, whereas only 11 (15.5%) felt that eczema was acceptable. Conclusions: The IEC noted that the term eczema is imprecise, and its use is confusing. The consensus of the IEC was to recommend use of the prefix “atopic” (i.e., AD or AE) in all publications, presentations and discussions about the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2026-2030
Number of pages5
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 EAACI and John Wiley and Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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