Atopic dermatitis (AD) and hand eczema (HE) are common chronic and relapsing inflammatory skin conditions that often co-occur.
While several studies have addressed their relationship, the exact association estimate is unknown.
We systematically reviewed published literature on the association between AD and HE in PubMed, Embase and Web of Science using the following search terms: (atopic dermatitis OR atopic eczema) AND (hand dermatitis OR hand eczema). Meta-analyses were then performed to examine the association between AD and the point, 1-year and lifetime prevalence of HE, respectively.
We identified 35 relevant studies, of which 26 were included in the meta-analyses. AD was associated with an increased prevalence of HE with regard to point [odds ratio (OR) 2·35; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·47-3·76], 1-year (OR 4·29; 95% CI 3·13-5·88) and lifetime prevalence (OR 4·06; 95% CI 2·72-6·06). Furthermore, positive associations between AD and occupational HE were identified when assessing the 1-year (OR 4·31; 95% CI 2·08-8·91) and lifetime prevalence (OR 2·81; 95% CI 2·08-3·79). Similar positive associations were found in the general population studies, i.e. OR 4·19 (95% CI 3·46-5·08) and OR 5·69 (95% CI 4·41-7·36).
Important study limitations include the wide use of questionnaire studies, and lack of prospective studies as well as poor clinical phenotype descriptions. In conclusion, our systematic review and meta-analysis showed that patients with AD had a strongly increased prevalence of HE. Clinicians should continue to guide patients with AD away from occupations with a high risk of HE.