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Burden of Cutaneous Psoriasis Disease Higher in Patients with Comorbid Psoriatic Arthritis

About 5 million Americans are diagnosed with cutaneous psoriasis and a common comorbidity is psoriatic arthritis (PsA). PsA affects 6% to 10% of psoriasis patients overall, and 20% to 40% of psoriasis patients with more extensive skin involvement. Psoriasis alone has a high disease burden, affecting quality-of-life (QOL). Patients with PsA often have severe cutaneous psoriasis. These patients may be at higher risk for comorbid conditions and impaired QOL. The severity of cutaneous psoriasis causes symptoms of itching, irritation, and pain which become worse as the disease severity increases. QOL scores decline as severity increases; PsA is chronic, often progressive, and can lead to permanent joint damage and severe disability.

Using results from National Psoriasis Foundation surveys, a recent study published in the journal Cutis, compared disease characteristics, comorbidities, and psoriasis-related QOL in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis with and without comorbid PsA. The authors found that there was significant variation in patient demographics, comorbidities, and psoriasis-related QOL depending on the presence or absence of comorbid PsA. Even without comorbid PsA, patients with more severe cutaneous psoriasis were associated with worse QOL scores and higher rates of self-reported heart disease and hypertension. Patients with moderate to severe psoriasis and comorbid PsA were associated with greater rates of self-reported diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure and worse QOL scores. Patients with comorbid PsA reported more itching, irritation, and pain.

The authors concluded that patients with moderate to severe psoriasis and comorbid PsA bear a higher psoriasis-related disease burden. They suggest that providers may wish to consider this comorbidity when designing patient treatment plans. The authors emphasize the importance of screening for PsA in patients with psoriasis and identifying effective treatment of skin disease in patients with PsA to improve overall QOL.

By: Wendy Meltzer, MPH


Adapted from the original article.

[image by MyArthritis]

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