Quality of Life, Use of Topical Medications and Socio-economic Data in Hand Eczema: A Swedish Nationwide Survey
Kerstin Bingefors, Magnus Lindberg, Dag Isacson
Hand eczema is common and has an adverse impact on the lives of patients. There is a need for population-based surveys on the pharmacoepidemiological aspects, quality of life and impact of socioeconomic factors in hand eczema. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate these factors. A questionnaire-based nationwide survey of health was performed, including questions on hand eczema, use of pharmaceuticals and socioeconomic factors. Quality of life was estimated with the generic instrument Short Form 36 (SF-36). The questionnaire was sent to 7,985 persons (age range 18–84 years), response rate 61.1% (n = 4,875). The 1-year prevalence of hand eczema in the study population was 7.5%. In this group, quality of life was lower. All dimensions of SF-36 were affected, most markedly general health and those dimensions reporting on mental health. In the group with self-reported hand eczema, 51% reported using topical pharmaceuticals. Hand eczema was more common among women (9.1%, n = 2,630) than among men (5.6%, n = 2,245) and in the age group below 65 years (8.5%, n = 3,274) compared with those aged 65 years and over (4.3%, n = 1,151). This survey clearly demonstrates the impact of hand eczema on several dimensions of life and also highlights age, gender and socioeconomic differences.