Many with psoriasis go untreated

August 20, 2013

Up to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis do not seek medical care for their skin condition, patient surveys show.

 

Up to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis do not seek medical care for their skin condition, patient surveys show.

As many as 50 percent of patients with mild psoriasis went untreated, while nearly 22 percent of patients with severe psoriasis were treated only with topical agents, according to the results.

Investigators with University of California, Davis, analyzed national survey data that had been gathered by the National Psoriasis Foundation from 2003 to 2011. Survey participants were 5,604 patients from the United States who had psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Between 36.6 and 49.2 percent of patients who had mild psoriasis were not treated for their condition, survey results indicated. Among patients with moderate psoriasis, 23.6 to 35.5 percent weren’t treated, and 9.4 to 29.7 percent of patients with severe psoriasis also were not treated. Nearly 30 percent of patients with moderate psoriasis were treated only with topical agents.

Survey respondents indicated an inability to get adequate insurance coverage was one of the main reasons for discontinuing treatment for psoriasis. Adverse effects and lack of effectiveness also led to patients discontinuing treatment.

“We want payers to understand the serious medical consequences of nontreatment and undertreatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis,” April W. Armstrong, M.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and associate professor of dermatology at UC Davis, said in a news release. “There are also psychiatric consequences to these conditions. Patients often become depressed and some even suicidal because their quality of life is so poor."

More than 52 percent of patients with psoriasis and 45.5 percent with psoriatic arthritis reported dissatisfaction with the treatment they received for their condition.

“While various treatment modalities are available for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, widespread treatment dissatisfaction exists,” study authors noted. “Efforts in advocacy and education are necessary to ensure that effective treatments are accessible to this patient population.

Study findings were published online Aug. 14 in JAMA Dermatology.