Prescribing phototherapy instead of biologics for psoriasis could save patients money, according to poster data presented at the recent 2014 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

Andrew Shors, MD, MPH, from Group Health Cooperative in Seattle, and colleagues estimated health care costs attributable to psoriasis among 2,986 adults aged 18 years and older that were continuously enrolled in the Group Health Cooperative health plan and who received a diagnosis of psoriasis during 2012 using electronic health record data. Mean patient age was 51 years; 55% were women.

The researchers identified an adjusted control group from among all patients without a psoriasis diagnosis to establish the incremental costs attributable to psoriasis. Next they estimated health care costs from a payer’s perspective to quantify costs associated with providing care for patients with psoriasis.

Continue Reading

The mean adjusted total annual health care costs associated with patients diagnosed with psoriasis during 2012 were $10,816 compared with $6,772 for controls, according to the researchers. The incremental $4,044 increase in health care costs attributable to psoriasis was significant (P<0.0001).

Psoriasis patients treated with phototherapy had incremental costs of $3,910.17 relative to all adults diagnosed with psoriasis, whereas patients treated with biologic agents had incremental costs of $8,118.98 relative to patients treated with phototherapy (P<0.0001 for both)

The overall incremental increase in healthcare costs among patients treated with biologics was  $12,029 (P<0.0001) more than all adults diagnosed with psoriasis.

“Our study provides evidence for the potential cost savings that could be achieved with greater use of phototherapy as a treatment for psoriasis relative to the use of biologic agents,” the researchers concluded.


  1. Shors A. Abstract #P8362. Presented at: AAD 2014; March 21-25, 2014; Denver.

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.