New Insights: Understanding Clinical Trial Participation for Eczema

Male doctor pointing to a tablet and talking to a young boy in an exam room with his mother behind him

By Jennifer Moncayo-Hida

Published On: Aug 4, 2023

Last Updated On: Oct 11, 2023

Why don’t more people know about clinical trials for eczema? Why don’t more people participate in clinical trials for eczema? Do patients know that clinical trials can lead to new treatments for eczema? The research team at the National Eczema Association (NEA) conducted a study on clinical trial participation to get some answers.

What we learned about clinical trial awareness

In a new analysis of their study, “Factors Associated with Eczema Clinical Trial Awareness, Interest, and Participation in Adults,” published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica in June 2023, NEA researchers investigated what factors impacted awareness of and participation in clinical trials for adults with eczema. 

Based on the survey responses from 800 adult patients, researchers at NEA found:

  • 9.7% of eczema patients have participated in a clinical trial, however, 57.1% were interested in participating but have never participated before
  • Younger patients and those with an atopic dermatitis diagnosis were more likely to have awareness of clinical trials
  • Adult, females were less likely to be interested in clinical trials compared to male patients
  • Certain clinical trial terms were poorly understood across all respondents, regardless of clinical trial experience: over half reported below average understanding of “rescue therapy,” “treatment arm” and “washout period

What we learned about motivators and barriers to clinical trials

Based on the same study, the NEA research team published another paper, “Patient and Caregiver Motivators and Barriers to Eczema Clinical Trial Participation: Analysis of Survey Data,” in Skin Health and Disease in June 2023.

This analysis was based on the survey responses from 728 adult patients and 196 caregivers. 

Among adults and caregivers who never considered participating in a clinical trial:

  • 57.7% mentioned that lack of awareness was a barrier
  • 20% of caregiver responses stated fear of clinical trial risk and safety for their child as a barrier to considering a clinical trial — a higher percentage compared to adults
  • Older adult patients and those with less severe symptoms thought they would not be eligible to join in a clinical trial

Among adults and caregivers who had considered participating in a clinical trial: 

  • 81% of responses mentioned the burden of their disease as a reason why they considered participating

How the eczema community can use these findings

Clinical trials are an important step in treatment development for eczema. “Clinical trials for eczema can only be conducted or have applicable results for different individuals when a large number of diverse people with eczema are willing to participate,” said Wendy Smith Begolka, co-author of the study and senior vice president of scientific and clinical affairs at NEA. 

“The number of clinical trials for eczema is rapidly increasing — which means there are many more potential options for exploration and participation,” Smith Begolka said. “Regardless of your current eczema severity, consider talking to your doctor about clinical trials to see if there are any available options for you, and what it might mean for your current eczema treatment and therapies.” 

To learn more about clinical trials for eczema, or to find one near you, visit NEA’s clinical trial hub.

You can also find additional research from NEA on clinical trial participation here.

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