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Prevalence of severe psoriasis higher in men

Data from a Swedish national registry of patients on systemic treatment for psoriasis has found that men were much more likely to have severe disease than women, a finding researcher say should inform a gender perspective on the management of psoriasis and co-morbidities.

These findings come from a paper published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (Mar. 24, 2017).

“For over 70 years, psoriasis researchers have speculated that women have less severe psoriasis compared to men. Our study is the first to investigate sex differences in psoriasis severity using the golden standard of severity measurement, the PASI score,” said lead author Dr. Marcus Schmitt-Egenolf in a press release. Dr. Schmitt-Egenolf is a professor in the department of public health and clinical medicine at Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden.

The cross-sectional study was based on data from 5,438 patients with moderate-to-severe disease, taken from the Swedish PsoReg registry. PsoReg records contain detailed disease measurement data inclusing Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores.

Analyzing the data, investigators found that women had significantly lower (p<0.001) median PASI values than men (5.4 for women vs. 7.3 for men). The finding that men had more severe psoriasis was consistent across all age groups and in all areas of the body except the head.

“Our results tell us that the well-established gender differences in the utilization of psoriasis care can at least partially be explained by a higher prevalence of more severe disease in men,” said Dr. Schmitt-Egenolf.

The researchers note that the study found no differences between women and men in the use of medications before enrolment in the PsoReg register that might explain the observed sex difference.

“These findings should motivate a gender perspective in the management of severe psoriasis and its comorbidities, such as cardiovascular and metabolic disease,” said Dr. Schmitt-Egenolf.

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