Atopic Dermatitis: The Patient Journey - Episode 1

Patient Presentation of Atopic Dermatitis

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Taylor Capps and her mother, Tina Capps, share Taylor’s initial journey with atopic dermatitis and presenting symptoms.

Raj J. Chovatiya, MD, PhD: Hello, and thank you for joining this HCPLive® Cure Connections® program titled “Atopic Dermatitis: The Patient Journey.” I’m your host, Dr Raj Chovatiya. I’m an assistant professor of dermatology and the director for the Center for Eczema and Itch at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. I’m joined by an illustrious panel today. We’ve got Dr Lisa Swanson from Boise, Idaho. Dr Swanson is a dermatologist and a pediatric dermatologist at Ada West Dermatology in St. Luke’s Children's Hospital. We’re also joined by Korey Capozza, the founder and executive director of Global Parents for Eczema Research. And as a special treat, Taylor and Tina Capps are going to share the details of their journey with atopic dermatitis. Thank you, everyone, for joining us. Let’s jump right in.

I want to direct our first question to Taylor. Could you take us back on your journey of atopic dermatitis and talk about some of your initial symptoms and what prompted you to see a doctor for diagnosis, from what you remember?

Taylor Capps: My journey of atopic dermatitis started before I can even remember. My mom can give you a better depiction of those initial symptoms, but from what I remember of childhood, I was constantly covered in a rash and had broken-out lips and itching. Heat was 1 of the big things that caused that. I had extremely sensitive skin. The initial symptoms were a rash that would become more prevalent with certain things. Saltwater burned it. The other piece was in the creases of my legs and arms. I was a gymnast, so it was something I struggled with from the beginning. But the biggest pieces were those rashes that irritated you on a day-to-day basis.

Raj J. Chovatiya, MD, PhD: Tina, after all this time, what do you remember what Taylor is talking about? What were some of those initial symptoms that you remember?

Tina Capps: She described it well. She had extremely dry skin, then she would break out in these red patches, particularly in her wrist area, as if she was saying in the joints between her elbows and knees. As a toddler, she would get it more in her scalp and neck. By the time she would scratch and itch, she would irritate the skin. It would cause sores. During that time, we began to seek medical treatment.

Raj J. Chovatiya, MD, PhD: If we could build on that, what was your experience in your initial seeking of medical treatment for this heavy burden that was going on? What do you remember?

Tina Capps: We started with her pediatrician. They were 1 of the best groups in our city. We tried different topical treatments, ointments, and creams. They were recommending products for example lotions that were free of dyes and used antihistamines. When that was not giving her any relief, they sent us on to a dermatologist, and the journey continued.

Raj J. Chovatiya, MD, PhD: Taylor, do you have any memories of this? Do you remember how long it took until you got some explanation for what was going on from the health care professionals you saw?

Taylor Capps: At the time I met you, about 28 years ago. One of the most interesting parts about being under your care is that you were seeking the root cause. What causes atopic dermatitis? I never had the understanding that that was inflammation within the body that was coming out in the form of a rash. When I began to understand that, my whole perception of things changed. I was constantly in and out. My memory of childhood is sitting in oatmeal baths because it was quite painful, to be honest. Until I was able to understand what was causing it and we began treating the true root cause vs the topical piece on top of the skin is when things began to change.

Raj J. Chovatiya, MD, PhD: You hit on something powerful that all of us think about when we think about atopic dermatitis. Essentially, for the years that you went through stuff, you’re not sure how well it was working. It took some time for you to understand a bit.

Transcript Edited for Clarity