Psoriasis patients see an average of three doctors and try four types of treatments before they achieve clear skin, a survey by Novartis showed.
Novartis Korea published the results of the “Clear about Psoriasis” survey on 8,300 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, on Monday. Plaque psoriasis is a skin disease often characterized by itchy, painful, red patches.
Most patients with the skin condition went through extensive trial-and-error before finding an effective treatment method, according to the survey. Most had to take a variety of therapies without knowing that the probability of achieving completely clear skin being higher than ever before.
It took more than five years for about 30 percent of psoriasis patients to find the right treatment. Less than half of respondents said that they achieved clear or spotless skin. Patients were seen to have low expectations regarding treatment goals. More than half of the respondents thought achieving clear skin were unrealistic and impossible, the survey said.
Psoriasis patients also struggled with social issues. About 84 percent said they faced discrimination and insults due to their psoriasis. Nearly four in 10 patients said they missed work within the past six months due to their condition.
Upon achieving clear skin, patients said they wanted to swim the most, followed by wearing dark clothes or clothing that reveals skin as well as playing outdoor sports and meeting new people.
“The research results show many patients do not believe or know that new and improved psoriasis therapies can help them achieve clear skin,” Professor Kim Dong-hyun from Cha Medical University Bundang Cha Medical Center said.
Several multinational pharmaceutical firms have launched their next-generation psoriasis therapies on the market.
Novartis’ first-in-class drug for severe plaque psoriasis Cosentyx (secukinumab) gained national coverage as a second line treatment in August last year. A five-year study showed 89 percent of patients achieved a PASI 75 score on the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) index where a PASI 100 indicates completely clear skin. About 70 percent recorded a PASI 90, and 44 percent achieved a PASI 100 score after one year of treatment.
Other competitors have also rolled out their next-generation psoriasis drugs into the market, including Eli Lilly’s Taltz, Valeant’s Siliq, and Johnson & Johnson’s Stelara (ustekinumab) and Tremfya (guselkumab).
“It’s important for physicians taking care of psoriasis patients to establish a treatment goal of achieving clear skin based on improving the perception of psoriasis therapies,” he said. “It’s equally important to work together to reach the treatment goal actively.”
The survey results were published in the latest issue of the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
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