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Concerning Undertreatment of Autoimmune Condition Psoriasis

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A striking proportion of psoriasis patients remain untreated with an average diagnosis time of five years, a new study has found. The research, presented today at the 28th EADV Congress, analyzed 650 psoriasis patients in Germany and identified major gaps in the provision of psoriasis care and how the disease affects day-to-day patient life.

Over half of patients (56%) with more than 20% of body surface area being covered by psoriasis expressed that they are not currently visiting a physician to help with the treatment of their condition, indicating that doctors invest too little time into patients, are not interested in the disease and are not well informed. Half of those prescribed drugs communicated that they do not help treat their condition (49%) or have too many side effects (29%).

Almost 9 in ten of the patients in the study suffered from plaques (patches of rough, red skin that are caused by skin cells reproducing too quickly), with the head and elbows being the most commonly affected areas. The condition is reported to have greater severity and greater impact on quality of life measures when it affects the anal and genital regions.

Psoriasis is a common, noncommunicable skin disease with at least 100 million individuals affected worldwide. The cause of psoriasis is currently unknown, but research shows that the immune system and genetics play a major part in the development of the condition.

“Despite psoriasis being a well-known disease, a striking proportion of patients remain undertreated”, commented lead researcher Maximilian Schielein. “Taking more time and finding an appropriate treatment for unsatisfied patients must be addressed to fulfil their needs. In addition, we must not neglect the patients who are dissatisfied with their current treatment and have given up seeking professional help. Reaching out to these patients is essential and healthcare professionals have a duty of care to ensure that everyone with psoriasis receives optimal care.”

Anxiety in psoriasis patients

A further study, also presented at the 28th EADV Congress, has shown that over three quarters (77%) of acute stage psoriasis patients had anxiety disorders, compared to 19% of the general population.

When evaluating the degree of anxiety in psoriasis patients, the research found:

  • 33% had high levels of anxiety
  • 44% had average levels of anxiety
  • 23% had lower levels of anxiety

The findings highlighted the need for interdisciplinary programmes for the diagnosis and treatment of psoriasis, as well as the inclusion of specific psychosocial interventions in the overall treatment regimen to help improve the course of the disease and long-term prognosis.

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