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Many Severe Psoriasis Patients Undertreated

Education needed to ensure patients offered appropriate treatments

MONDAY, July 7 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 40 percent of severe psoriasis patients are treated with only topical agents, according to the results of a cross-sectional survey of dermatologists published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Vaishali Patel, of Amgen Inc., in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and colleagues interviewed 90 actively practicing general dermatologists who were treating 10 or more patients with psoriasis monthly, and reviewed up to 10 charts for each physician. Self-reported use of biologics and documented use of biologics was recorded and compared with ratings of psoriasis severity.

By self-report, dermatologists used topical treatments in 37 percent of patients with severe psoriasis and 47 percent of patients with moderate disease. Similarly, dermatologists reported prescribing biologic therapy to 41 percent of patients with severe disease and 19 percent of patients with moderate disease. Dermatologists self-report higher use of biologics compared to what patients with severe psoriasis actually received. The investigators found that 39 percent of patients with severe psoriasis were felt to be inadequately controlled.

"The use of topical therapy alone for patients with severe psoriasis is high in light of dermatologists reporting that 18 percent of all of their patients with psoriasis have unstable or deteriorating disease progression and 39 percent of their patients with severe and 26 percent with moderate disease are inadequately controlled on therapy," the authors write. "Awareness-raising efforts regarding these treatment patterns among dermatologists may close this gap in treatment."

The study was supported by Amgen. Several of the study authors report financial relationships with Amgen and other pharmaceutical companies.

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