A global survey released June 1, 2018 reveals the true extent of the burden of rosacea on a psychological, emotional, and social level. The expert-authored report, Rosacea: Beyond the visible, can be found in the British Medical Journalonline. The report highlights the impact of the visible disease and the necessity to open a dialogue between patients and physicians about the ways to work toward achieving ‘clear’ skin.
“We can help make a difference by opening the conversation with patients on the impact of rosacea to identify the more vulnerable ‘high burden’ individuals and implement a tailor-made treatment approach,” said Dr. Jerry Tan, study author and adjunct professor, Western University, Windsor, Ont., in a press release.
The survey was completed by 554 physicians and 710 patients from six different countries (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States). The global study, designed by Galderma, investigated the burden of rosacea and if aiming for ‘clear’ skin could lighten said burden. Investigators also highlighted that healthcare professionals should aim to identify more vulnerable ‘high burden’ patients allowing for a more personalized treatment plan and patient approach. A five-point Investigator Global Assessment (IGA)scale was used, zero being ‘clear’ and one being ‘almost clear.’
Dr. Jerry Tan
According to the findings presented, rosacea can have an impact on an individual’s life at any severity, with 82% of people reported feeling that their rosacea is not totally controlled, and 86% substantially modifying their behaviour and daily lives to avoid rosacea flare-ups and triggers.
The study revealed 14% of people with rosacea rated themselves as ‘clear’ at the time of the study compared to 1% when participants were asked to consider their IGA a year prior to the survey. Only about one third of those who rated themselves as ‘almost clear’ reported rosacea had no impact on their quality of life compared to almost half of the ‘clear’ patient group (30% vs. 49%, p≤0.05). Achieving ‘clear’ compared to ‘almost clear’ may mean rosacea controls less of that person’s life. The survey found that people with ‘clear’ were significantly less likely to be forced into modifying daily behaviours compared to ‘almost clear’ (16% vs. 21%, p≤0.05). Not only did this survey highlight the extent of the psychological and emotional difference between people with ‘clear’ vs ‘almost clear,’ it also found that people with ‘clear’ tended to have a lower frequency of doctor visits per year (4.8±5.3 vs. 5.7±7.5, p=NS).
High burden patients may be difficult to identify, but this survey reports patients who claimed rosacea has a severe impact on their quality of life (DLQI>10) are typically younger, significantly more likely to be working, male, and have stinging and burning sensations vs. DLQI≥10 patients.
There is a need to open the dialogue between patients and physicians about the burden of rosacea and address the visible and invisible symptoms that may be associated with the condition. “The research alerts us to the reality that people with rosacea can feel like they are stuck in an unwinnable situation . . . [we need to] ensure people are comfortable talking about the impacts this illness can have on their lives,” said Dr. Tan.