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New Topical Therapies in Development for Atopic Dermatitis

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Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common chronic pruritic inflammatory cutaneous disease. AD is characterized by intense pruritus and enormous clinical heterogeneity. Treatment goals are to improve skin lesions and minimize exacerbations and symptom burden. Currently, topical corticosteroids (TCS) and topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCI) are still considered the main topical therapies in disease treatment. However, despite being very effective, TCS and TCI are not recommended for continuous long-term use, due to potential safety issues. Although research in AD has focused primarily on systemic drugs, more than 20 new topical compounds are under development to treat the disease. This review aims to provide a synthesized summary of the current knowledge about AD topical treatment, echoing existing gaps and coming research trends. The available data seems promising, with some drugs already approved (ruxolitinib being the most recent), and several are in an advanced stage of development and will soon be available for treatment of mild to moderate disease, namely tapinarof, difamilast, and roflumilast. However, longer and larger prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term efficacy and safety of these new compounds and evaluate their benefits over current treatments.

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Correspondence to Tiago Torres.

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Conflicts of interest

Egídio Freitas: consulting fees from Leo Pharma. Melinda Gooderham: Honoraria, grants, and/or research funding as a speaker, investigator, advisory board member, data safety monitoring board member, and/or consultant for AbbVie, Amgen, Akros, Arcutis, Aslan, Bausch/Valeant, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Dermira, Dermavant, Eli Lilly, Galderma, Janssen, Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma, LEO Pharma, MedImmune, Merck & Co., Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche Laboratories, Sanofi Genzyme, Sun Pharma, and UCB. Tiago Torres: research grants and/or consulting fees from AbbVie, Almirall, Amgen, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Biocad, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Eli Lilly, Janssen, LEO Pharma, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Samsung-Bioepis, Sandoz, Sanofi, and Viatris.

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Author contributions

EF, MG, and TT had the idea for the article, performed the literature search and data analysis, and drafted and critically revised the work.

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Freitas, E., Gooderham, M. & Torres, T. New Topical Therapies in Development for Atopic Dermatitis. Drugs 82, 843–853 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40265-022-01722-2

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