Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) needs intensive treatment and has a negative impact on quality of life. Shared medical appointments (SMAs) showed to be effective in clinical outcomes of chronic diseases, but little is known about the effects on children and families. Objective: To evaluate the effects of SMAs compared to individual appointments (IA) for children with AD and their parents on coping and clinical outcomes. Methods: In a pragmatic randomized controlled trial, new patients in UMC Utrecht with AD, younger than 18 years, and their parents were assigned to the SMA group or the IA group using a covariate adaptive randomization method, controlled for age. Before the intervention, 2 months (primary time-point) and 6 months thereafter, we assessed parental emotional coping (primary outcome), quality of life, anxiety about corticosteroids and patient disease activity. Patients, parents and healthcare professionals could not be blinded to group assignment. Results: Of 140 patients, enrolled in the trial, 69 patients were assigned to the SMA and 71 to the IA intervention of whom 114 completed the intervention (SMA: 49; IA: 65). After 2 months, there were no differences between SMAs and IAs in effects on emotional coping: b 0.66, 95% CI −0.7 to 2.03; P = 0.33 (mean difference: 0.30; 95% CI −1.56 to 2.16; N SMA: 11; IA: 24), quality of life, anxiety about corticosteroids and disease activity. From the initial appointment to long-term follow-up, both groups showed substantial improvements, but not significant in disease activity and significant reduction in anxiety about corticosteroids. This study is limited by a low response rate; therefore, linear mixed models and dropout analyses were performed. No serious adverse events were reported. Conclusion and Clinical Relevance: For children with AD and their parents, there were no additional benefits of GMAs in parental emotional coping, anxiety about corticosteroids, quality of life and disease activity. Trial registration: www.ISRCTN.org, ISRCTN08506572.
- atopic dermatitis