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German study: undertreatment of psoriasis still significant

A study of 650 psoriasis patients in Germany has identified significant under treatment challenges and anxiety among patients, according to findings presented on Oct. 11, 2019 at the 28th EADV (European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology) Congress in Madrid, Spain (Schielein, M, et al: Patients with psoriasis are still immensely undertreated: Results from the DERMLINE online survey, 2019). Among patients who had more than 20% body surface area involvement, more than half (56%) expressed that they were not currently visiting a physician for help with their psoriasis. As well, half of psoriasis patients who had been prescribed medication said that the treatments either did not help their condition (49%) or had too many side effects (29%). The majority—almost 90%—of individuals with psoriasis in the study had plaques, most commonly on the head and elbows.

“Despite psoriasis being a well-known disease, a striking proportion of patients remain undertreated,” commented lead researcher Maximilian Schielein, in a press release. Schielein is an early stage researcher at the department for dermatology and allergy at the Technical University of Munich.

“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,” Schielein said. “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 second study presented at the Congress showed that more than three-quarters (77%) of acute stage psoriasis patients had anxiety disorders, compared to 19% of the general population (Matiushenko V, et al: Anxiety disorders in patients severe psoriasis in the acute stage, 2019). In that study, investigators found that 33% of patients with acute psoriasis had high levels of anxiety, 44% had average levels of anxiety, and 23% had lower levels of anxiety. The study presenters say their findings highlight the need for interdisciplinary programs 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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