New atopic dermatitis guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology focus on diagnosing and monitoring this common skin condition.

The guidelines also discuss measurements of disease severity, quality of life and comorbidities. “Misdiagnosis of atopic dermatitis is a concern, especially for adults, and can contribute to making the disease worse. These guidelines provide criteria for accurately diagnosing atopic dermatitis that differentiate it from other conditions with similar characteristics,” says AAD President dermatologist Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD, in a news release.

The new recommendations call for:

• Not monitoring immunoglobulin E levels. This is not recommended because they do not correlate with disease severity.

• Asking general questions about itch, sleep, impact on daily activity, and persistence of the disease.

• Coordinating with other specialties when providing care for atopic dermatitis patients who have associated conditions that affect more than the skin, such as sleep issues, asthma, food allergies, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other psychological conditions.

The remaining three sections of the guidelines, which are slated to publish in 2014, will focus on the management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical therapies, systemic agents, adjunctive therapies, and the prevention of flares.