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European Survey Reveals Wide-Reaching Impact of eczema on Quality of Life and Emotional Wellbeing of Children and Their Families
London (ots/PRNewswire) - New survey data released today demonstrate that childhood eczema can have a detrimental effect on quality of life not only for the children who live with the disease, but also for their families.[1a] The survey, which was carried out in eight countries across Europe, examines the impact of eczema on European children through the eyes of the parents who care for them.
The survey findings show that childhood eczema can negatively affect all aspects of life, from participation in education to self esteem, in particular for children with moderate or severe form of the disease.1a Children with moderate and severe eczema miss out on school or nursery as well as sport and play - over a quarter (27%) of children miss up to five days of school a year due to their disease.[1b] Furthermore, nearly one fifth (18%) miss out on sport and play due to their eczema.[1c] This has an impact on parents too: over a quarter (26%) of parents caring for a child with moderate and severe eczema have to miss time at work due to their child's illness.[1d]
Worryingly, 50% of parents of children with moderate and severe eczema feel that the condition has a negative effect on their child's self esteem.[1e] Almost one third of parents report that children living with moderate and severe eczema experience frustration (32%) and feeling different to other children (30%)[1f] and parents also believe that their child feels 'self-conscious' and 'sad' some of the time because of their condition.[1g] Significant pain and discomfort, sleeping problems and mood swings are all problems experienced by one in four children with moderate and severe eczema.[1h]
"While parents of children living with eczema know the impact that the disease can have on children and families, it isn't always easy for other people to understand," said Margaret Cox, Chief Executive, National Eczema Society (UK). "We welcome the findings of this survey in the hope that they will help everyone involved in the care of children with eczema to understand the challenges they face. Recognising the emotional toll that eczema can take is an important step towards helping to identify how we can better help these children to live and enjoy their childhoods to the full."
Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is an incurable skin disease which affects between 5% and 20% of children in developed countries. In children, 60% of eczema is diagnosed under the age of one year. Once the disease has emerged, a child will usually experience a cycle of 'flare ups' followed by periods of remission when the disease will appear to have gone away and the skin looks as if it has returned to normal. Commonly, 2 out of 3 children with eczema 'grow out of it' by their mid-teens.
Eczema can cause disruptions to family daily routine, a child suffering from moderate and severe eczema can be affected for a significant proportion of time each month and each year.
Almost two thirds (65%) of children with moderate and severe eczema are affected for up to 10 days per month1 and a quarter experience between five and 10 flares per year. Almost one third (32%) of children with moderate and severe eczema experience flares that last for up to two weeks at a time.
The survey revealed that flare prevention or reduction is a priority for parents. Parents of children with moderate and severe eczema feel that all aspects of family life would be improved and that their child's quality of life would be improved if he or she experienced fewer flares. Over one third believe that this would transform their child's quality of life for the better. Parents stated pain relief as the most important treatment outcome and approximately a quarter (24%) of parents of children with moderate and severe eczema identified failure to prevent flares as the biggest problem with their current treatment.
"Eczema has a far more debilitating impact on a child's life than most people understand. We manage my son's itching by constantly moisturising his skin - which only serves to make him feel even more different from his friends." said Suzanne Johns from Bradford, England, whose 7-year old son was diagnosed with eczema at birth.
"Eczema is far more than dry skin or a bit of an itch. Eczema can demand an all consuming lifestyle and coping techniques which need to be embraced by not only the sufferer, but their family as well. Only when people fully understand the far reaching impact of this relentlessly itchy, intolerable skin condition can we hope for better treatment and acceptance."
Eczema is a complicated disease for which, at present, there is no cure. There are a range of treatments available to help to minimise the impact of eczema. Some patients may need treatments that are designed to be used regularly to prevent flare ups from happening. Other treatments are used for a shorter period of time to treat a flare up and help the skin to heal.
About the survey
The Impact of Eczema on Children Survey was carried out by Opinion Health on behalf of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. The online survey involved 1,600 parents of children with eczema in total (754 of which were parents of children with moderate to severe eczema), comprising 200 from each of eight countries across Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK). The aim of the survey was to explore the impact of eczema and its management on the quality of life of children, their parents and families.
About Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.
Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd., located in the UK, is a European subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceuticals. The organisation is committed to becoming a global company by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities and continuing to grow in the world pharmaceutical market. Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. is responsible for 20 affiliate offices located across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, an R&D site and three manufacturing plants. The company employs approximately 3,800 staff across these regions. For more information about Astellas Pharma Europe, please visit http://www.astellas.eu.
 APEL Quality of Life market research, 2010
 Leung DY, Boguniewicz M, Howell MD, et al. New insights into atopic dermatitis. J Clin Invest 2004; 113: 651-7.
 Kay J et al., J. Am. Acad. Derm 1994 ;30 ; 1 :35-39
 National Eczema Society, Atopic Eczema, Available from: http://www.eczema.org/atopic.html Lasted accessed November2010
 National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health (2007) Atopic eczema in children: full guideline, National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Available from: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/EczemaFullGuideline.pdf Last accessed August 2010
For more information on eczema, please visit the National Eczema Society website at http://www.eczema.org
Contacts for enquiry or additional information: Astellas
PharmaEurope, Mindy Dooa, Corporate Communications Director,