Dermatology Month in Review: December 2023


The December 2023 month in review for dermatology covers major stories regarding a new FDA approval, several new treatment findings, and news on attitudes toward those with acne.

This month in the field of dermatology several notable developments took place, highlighting the dynamic and rapidly evolving nature of skin health and treatment modalities. As it is the end of 2023, the editorial team at HCPLive formed a month in review which highlights some of the top content seen in the month of December.

Would you like to learn about the major FDA decisions this year in dermatology? Read our feature titled “Looking Back on Dermatology's Historic 2023 with Raj Chovatiya, MD, PhD”, which details the biggest decisions made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2023.

Top Dermatology Stories in December 2023

Baricitinib Results in Swift Improvements Among 4 Signs of Atopic Dermatitis in EASI

One study this month in dermatology resulted in positive findings for baricitinib treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD), with the drug leading to potentially lasting enhancements in the clinical signs of excoriation and of inflammation. The findings indicate that the targeted use of janus kinase (JAK)-1 and 2 inhibitors may lead to inflammation and pruritus relief.

The post-hoc analysis in this study was led by investigators from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the University of Bern. They designed their research to evaluate the effects of baricitinib on the subscores of AD patients’ Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) scores such as excoriation, edema/papulation, erythema, and lichenification.

Paradoxical Eczema Risk Lowest Among Psoriasis Patients Treated with IL-23 Inhibitors

Another study covered in December resulted in findings suggesting that the paradoxical eczema risk among individuals with psoriasis is lowest among biologic-treated patients given IL-23 inhibitors. The findings also suggested that greater age, female sex, and eczema or hay fever history are associated with increased risk of paradoxical eczema.

“The low overall incidence of paradoxical eczema may be reassuring for patients and clinicians, but it is possible that the incidence was underestimated due to underreporting or exclusion of adverse events with insufficient detail,” the investigators wrote.

FDA Announces Approval of Roflumilast Foam for Seborrheic Dermatitis

The decision by the FDA which received a lot of attention in December was the approval of Arcutis Biotherapeutics’s roflumilast (Zoryve) topical foam, 0.3%, as a treatment for patients with seborrheic dermatitis aged 9 years and older. The widespread release of the drug was planned for January of 2024.

The FDA’s approval was noted as significant for dermatologists as it represents the first drug approved by the agency in about 20 years for seborrheic dermatitis, a disease known to impact over 10 million people in the US. The once-per-day, steroid free topical foam led to rapid disease clearance and substantial reduction in itch among those in the STRATUM trial.

Stigmatizing Attitudes Against Individuals with Acne Observed in Several Different Settings

One study on stigmatizing attitudes and dermatology patients noted that such stigmas are shown to be often aimed at those with acne in both professional and social settings, with the research indicating greater stigma for darker-skinned individuals and those with severe acne.

“Understanding stigmatizing attitudes is important because stigma can have a negative impact on the lived experience of those with acne and could adversely affect outcomes such as relationships, education, and employment opportunities,” the investigators wrote. “This study sought to explore the presence and degree of stigma toward individuals with acne and whether any factors modulate this stigma.”

Greater Vitiligo Risk Seen Among Transplant Recipients, Patients with Comorbid Graft-vs-Host Disease

Another study highlighted from December found that vitiligo risk was greater among recipients of organ transplants and that this was most pronounced among hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients and individuals that had comorbid graft-vs-host disease (GVHD) or allogeneic grafts.

This research had been conducted given the lack of available data quantifying vitiligo risk based upon situations in which there is comorbid GVHD seen in patients. Prior population-based studies had been conducted, but such research had mainly looked at the associations found between vitiligo and transplants.

“Our study benefits from a nationally representative, large study population,” the investigators explained. “In particular, because transplant recipients are covered by the Individual Copayment Beneficiaries Program for rare and intractable disorders, diagnosis is relatively reliable.”

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