The burden of psoriasis and associated treatment is significant for many people, but results of a new international study of adults with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis offer some solutions.

Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, highlighted in Therapeutics for the Clinician the findings from a subset of 609 US respondents (mean age 49 years; 56% women) from the study; 193 of those were taking prescription medication, 88% of which was topical.

More than 80% of respondents reported concurrent use of prescription and over-the-counter products. However, 86 of the 193 respondents reported non-adherence to these medications. Reasons included using only when needed (57%) and forgetfulness (46%). Many patients (60%) also reported fear of side effects related to prescription treatments as a reason for non-adherence.

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Despite the use of medication, 71% of respondents reported that psoriasis represented a moderate to extremely high impact on their life. Scaliness on the skin, dry skin, red raised areas, areas with crusted plaque and moderate itching were the symptoms reported by at least 50% of patients surveyed. Among patients who reported itching, 54% said the symptoms disturbed their sleep and 57% said it affected their ability to concentrate.

Feldman said that this study provided some insight into certain areas of the healthcare provider and patient relationship that may improve treatment adherence and therefore quality of life for people with psoriasis.

“When prescribing topical treatments, it is important to encourage patients to use the medications correctly and consistently, which will likely contribute to effective and sustained control of the psoriasis,” Feldman wrote. “It also is important to set realistic expectations about treatment outcomes and to educate patients about possible adverse events.”


  1. Feldman SR. Cutis. 2013;92(5):258-263.

Disclosure: Feldman has received research, speaking, and/or consulting support from various pharmaceutical manufacturers and owns stock in Causa Research and See the full study for a complete list of disclosures.