Chronic hand eczema in Europe: Patient experiences and perspectives (CHEPEP) in qualitative interviews

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BACKGROUND: Chronic hand eczema (CHE) is a very common skin disease among the European population. It causes itch and pain and, in more severe cases, seriously impairs hand functioning at work and in private life.

OBJECTIVES: To explore perspectives of people with lived experience on CHE-related problems, wishes and goals.

METHODS: Following a qualitative approach, we conducted topic-guided interviews in five European countries and applied template analysis to identify recurrent themes among patients with CHE.

RESULTS: We interviewed 60 patients in seven outpatient dermatological and occupational medicine clinics in Croatia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Five main themes were identified: (1) knowledge about the disease and its course, (2) preventive behaviour, (3) hand eczema therapy, (4) impact on everyday life and (5) attitudes towards CHE and healthcare. Participants did not feel well informed about CHE, especially about causes, triggers and treatment options. Preventive measures were experienced as more or less effective but also cumbersome. Experiences with therapy were diverse. Treatment satisfaction depended on the results and on the perceived support from the treatment teams. Participants found it important to be taken seriously, to receive practical advice, to try out additional treatments or examinations, find new hope and have occupational perspectives. They wished that others could better understand the physical and emotional burden of CHE. Patient support groups were not mentioned. Participants found it important to learn to take care of themselves and accept life with CHE.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to its annoying symptoms, high visibility and impaired functioning at work and in private life, CHE has a high emotional and social impact. Some people may require support to learn coping with CHE and its prevention. Patients wish for information about causes and triggers. They value physicians who listen to them and keep looking for solutions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1396-1405
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85156131343
ORCID /0000-0001-8649-9196/work/148145042
ORCID /0000-0002-4411-3088/work/148145490



  • Humans, Eczema/therapy, Europe, Germany, Pain, Patient Outcome Assessment