Atopic dermatitis

Patient recruitment

With 500+ dermatological clinical trials underway, there is intense competition to find eligible patients – we know how to find them first.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic relapsing inflammatory skin disease, with approximately 80% of cases developing in infancy or childhood, and the rest during adulthood. Affecting up to 2.4% of the population worldwide, atopic dermatitis cases have increased 2- to 3-fold in industrialized countries since the 1970s, with high variation within different countries and subpopulations.   

Currently, there is no cure; existing treatments aim to ease symptoms and reduce the severity and occurrence of acute flares. Despite recent advances in dermatological medicine, such as the development and approval of novel biologic treatments, patients still have a high unmet medical need and experience significant impacts on their quality of life. 

Having performed atopic dermatitis patient recruitment for 20+ international trials, from Phase I to IV (including both adult and adolescent patients), we know how to find the right candidates for your study. 

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Reach atopic dermatitis patients of all ages  

As the most common skin disease in children, atopic dermatitis has historically been considered a pediatric disease, with a prevalence of up to 20% in certain countries. However, the condition can develop at any age: 1 in 4 adults report adult-onset of initial symptoms, with an estimated global prevalence of 1-10% in adults. Additionally, recent studies suggest a second peak in incidence after 60 years of age.  

Despite being disproportionately affected, both children and older adults are underrepresented in atopic dermatitis clinical trials due to, for example, difficulties in approval from government regulatory bodies and strict I/E criteria. In the USA, the FDA only approves certain medications in different pediatric groups after initial approval in adults; while a systematic review of inclusion criteria in clinical trials on systemic atopic dermatitis treatments found that 34% of trials explicitly excluded older adults (Lam et al., 2020).  

That’s why at Clariness, we target both patients and guardians, and have successfully recruited adolescents for atopic dermatitis clinical trials. In a recent atopic dermatitis patient insights survey (with 4,959 respondents), we were able to reach patients and guardians of all ages: 


Age distribution of atopic dermatitis patient insights survey

Bar graph showing age distribution of patients in atopic dermatitis patient insights survey

Our digital targeting techniques

We have four ways of targeting patients and caregivers when performing atopic dermatitis patient recruitment, and continuously review performance to optimize engagement and trial registrations.

Location & capacity targeting

Patients & guardians living within a predesignated radius around active sites are targeted with ads that are activated and deactivated based on site referral volume.

Interest-based targeting

Patients searching or engaging (e.g., likes, shares, comments, etc.) with content related to atopic dermatitis, eczema, allergy asthma, dermatology, and skin problems are targeted with social media outreach.  

Demographic targeting

Gender, age, and other demographics indicators are used as filters to find patients that fit your exact criteria, with these aspects included in each and every one of our screeners.

Behavioral targeting

We continuously analyze the behavior of those who did, and didn’t register, for trials to target patients with similar behaviors to boost conversions and improve ROI.

Special screening techniques

Our targeting techniques drive high volumes of traffic to our customized screeners, leading to more referred and randomized patients for atopic dermatitis studies. 

We designed a BSA (Body Surface Area) pre-screening questionnaire to identify symptom severity during phone screening with a customizable threshold (e.g., BSA > 8%) based on specific protocols. This allows us to provide high-quality referrals to sites and limit study delays by ensuring that more patients are consented and randomized.

Find patients aligned to your protocol

Patients with atopic dermatitis experience unpredictable and highly variable signs and symptoms. Some studies suggest that >40% of patients with atopic dermatitis suffer from moderate to severe disease. Those with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis are also more likely to have higher medical costs, miss work, and be less satisfied with their treatment.  

Our recent atopic dermatitis patient survey found that 55% of respondents (out of 4,959) rated their atopic dermatitis as moderate, with 18% rating it as severe. Additionally, >50% of respondents would consider participating in an atopic dermatitis clinical trial, with 20% indicating they are “very likely” and 36% reporting they are “likely” to do so. 

Our survey results show that we can reach patients with mild to severe stages of disease who are interested in clinical trial participation. Our Chief Medical Officer will review your protocol and align with our patient recruitment team to develop methods that will ensure successful patient recruitment.  

We understand that no two atopic dermatitis studies are the same 

From social advertising to screeners and site services, we customize and align all study services and materials to your target audience. 

We understand the impacts of local culture, languages, and participation willingness and adapt accordingly to ensure we refer patients that meet your protocol’s requirements. 

Here are three different advertising creatives used within the same market, but with different targets at the focus of each campaign. This allows us to capture the attention of a broader range of patients and caregivers for your clinical trial.  

Addressing patient diversity

Historically, minority and marginalized populations are underrepresented in clinical trials – despite evidence that these populations may be at increased risk of certain health conditions. Atopic dermatitis displays wide heterogeneity in symptoms and severity across age, gender, race, and ethnic background, as well as socioeconomic status and geographic location.  

Digital patient recruitment offers a fast and efficient way to broaden the geographic scope to target eligible patients. Our 10+ years of experience recruiting for atopic dermatitis studies found that common issues with recruitment included outreach tactics that didn’t work, patients not qualifying due to medical reasons, competition of other similar studies, and patients objecting to being placed in the placebo control arm. These issues led to enrollment delays and sites losing motivation. Our solution was to start the recruitment plan early, by considering patient insights, analyzing the protocol, and identifying challenges upfront.

Leveraging decentralized solutions in your atopic dermatitis studies   

We are currently witnessing advances in the patient experience through an increase in decentralized clinical trials and digital methods. Our patient survey on atopic dermatitis found that 42% of respondents (out of 4,959) indicated they are willing to participate in virtual consultations or telemedicine.  

Innovative decentralized solutions in clinical study designs have led to improved medical care of patients with atopic dermatitis be reducing time requirements associated with site visits (especially important for parents and caregivers) and allowing easier tracking of symptoms (using electronic diaries).   

We can help you adopt new approaches and transform your trial by navigating regulatory changes, creating study materials to support patients and caregivers with new technologies, and providing intensified support to sites to reduce site burden.

Let our experience with hybrid and decentralized clinical trials help your studies succeed.  

Are you designing an atopic dermatitis study, or have one underway?

We can help you find the right patients, at the right time. To find out more about our atopic dermatitis patient recruitment, contact us.


Atopic dermatitis content

Blog: Digitally optimizing advertising campaigns and trial registrations

At Clariness, we use a multichannel approach to reach and enroll patients with atopic dermatitis, and other dermatology studies. Our experience allows us to know which channels and techniques provide the best engagement and conversions, by country and patient population.

In our latest blog, we extract digital atopic dermatitis patient recruitment insights from the last 10 years, to share:

Which digital advertising channels perform best by region

How to continuously optimize campaigns and boost trial registrations


Read our blog here