Take the Itch Out of Atopic Dermatitis

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A person with red spots on their skin.

Take the Itch Out of Atopic Dermatitis

November 29, 2020 | Family Medicine Exam Prep Course | CCFP

Thank you to all our participants who virtually attended the Family Medicine Exam Prep Course in the fall. We are excited to see so many of you join our spring classes. Several of you have requested we continue to post more practice SAMPs, so here you go!

Just a reminder… pay attention to the questions. Here are our general tips one more time:

1. Pay attention to the questions. Look carefully at how many items you are being asked to list. If the question asks for five items, you will not get more marks if you list eight items; the examiner will look at the first five and allocate marks only for the first five answers – so be careful. On a SAMP, if it is not clearly stated how many items you should list, look at the amount of points/marks being allocated for the question to get an idea of how many answers the examiner may be anticipating you write down.

2. Do not write lengthy answers. Most questions can be answered in 10 words or less!

3. Be specific when writing down investigations (hemoglobin instead of CBC; CT abdomen instead of CT).

4. Remember that trade names and generic names are both acceptable when writing down medications.

5. For more helpful tips, you can refer to CCFP’s SAMP instructions by clicking here.



Marie-Ann is a 29-year-old healthy female who presents with a long-standing history of atopic dermatitis. She has significant redness around her upper and lower eyelid, and reports daily eye-itching. (14 points)

1. What class of topical therapy would you suggest she tries for her eyelid dermatitis? (1 point)

    • Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors (TCI) (they are asking for CLASS here)

2. What common side-effect do you want to warn her about associated with the proposed treatment in question #1? (1 point)

    • Significant burning when she first starts using the TCI

3. List 3 major clinical features of atopic dermatitis. (3 points)

    • Pruritus
    • Xerosis
    • Erythema, edema
    • Blistering, oozing, crusting
    • Excoriations
    • Lichenification

4. List 2 common triggers for atopic dermatitis. (2 points)

    • Cool temperature/winter weather
    • Sun exposure
    • Sweating/overheating
    • Mites, house dust, animal hair

5. True or false: There is a cure for atopic dermatitis. (1 point)

    • False

6. What is the most common bacteria that colonizes the skin in atopic dermatitis? (1 point)

    • Staphylococcus aureus

7. List 3 potential adverse effects of topical steroids. (3 points)

    • Skin atrophy
    • Purpura
    • Telangiectasia
    • Striae
    • Focal hypertrichosis
    • HPA axis suppression
    • Acne-like eruptions
    • Reduced wound healing
    • Allergic contact dermatitis

8. True or false: ~80% of patients and parents have “steroid phobia.†(1 point)

    • True. Be prepared to counsel on your exam!

9. A mother presents with a 4-year-old with a history of eczema. The child has developed a 5cm erythematous rash on his chest that is oozing and purulent. She has no drug allergies. What is the first line antibiotic you would prescribe? (1 point)

    • Cephalexin