Ann Dermatol.  2021 Feb;33(1):46-51. 10.5021/ad.2021.33.1.46.

Alitretinoin Compliance in Patients with Chronic Hand Eczema

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Busan Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Korea
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Haeundae Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Korea
  • 3Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, Inje University, Busan, Korea


Oral alitretinoin is effective in the treatment of chronic hand eczema (CHE), and ≥12 weeks of alitretinoin treatment has been shown to be effective in Korean patients.However, in the real world, a considerable number of patients discontinue alitretinoin, which leads to treatment failure.
To evaluate the compliance rate of alitretinoin treatment and explore common reasons for poor compliance in patients with CHE in the real world.
We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of CHE patients treated with alitretinoin. We defined ‘poor-compliance’ as subjects who were treated with alitretinoin for <12 weeks and ‘good-compliance’ as subjects who were treated with alitretinoin for ≥12 weeks. We reviewed the demographics, dose, and duration of alitretinoin usage, efficacy, and reasons for poor compliance.
A total of 137 subjects were enrolled, and 77 (56.2%) did not complete the 12-week treatment with alitretinoin. Among them, the non-improvement rate was significantly higher in the poor-compliance group than in the good-compliance group (p<0.01). The main reasons for the alitretinoin cessation in the poor-compliance group were insufficient response (40.8%), followed by high cost (34.7%), and adverse events (24.5%).
Alitretinoin appears the preferred longterm treatment option for CHE. Although there are complaints about late efficacy, cost, and side effects, following proper explanation, these should not justify discontinuation. Physicians need to recognize the reasons for poor compliance with alitretinoin for each patient and suggest continuing alitretinoin for the successful treatment of CHE.


Alitretinoin; Compliance; Eczema; Hand
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