Clinical Relevance of Skin Pain in Atopic Dermatitis

Sonja Ständer, Eric L. Simpson, Emma Guttman-Yassky, Jacob P. Thyssen, Kenji Kabashima, Susan G. Ball, Maria Jose Rueda, Amy M. DeLozier, Jonathan I. Silverberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Skin pain is increasingly recognized as an impactful symptom in atopic dermatitis (AD) because of its association with patient discomfort, disease burden, and reduced quality of life. Although the nature of skin pain in AD has not been systematically studied and is therefore not well understood, patients report soreness, discomfort, and tenderness that may reflect peripheral and central pain sensitization. The high prevalence of skin pain suggests that it is not adequately addressed by current therapies for AD and may be undertreated compared with other symptoms. This review discusses the clinical relevance of skin pain with respect to its experience, pathophysiology, relationship with itch, and treatment implications. Recent studies suggest that skin pain presents as a neuropathic symptom independent from itch and the “itch-scratch cycle”, and poses a unique burden to patients. Recognition of the significant consequences of skin pain and discomfort should reinforce the need to assess and treat this symptom in patients with moderate-to-severe AD. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(10)921-926. doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.5498.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-926
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of drugs in dermatology : JDD
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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