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Psoriasis patients found not to receive effective treatment

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Two thirds of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis in the UK are failing to maintain effective control of their symptoms, according to data from the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

The data released at the academy's annual congress demonstrated that two thirds of UK patients with moderate to severe psoriasis treated with biologic therapies failed to achieve effective control of their symptoms. NICE has defined effective control as a 75 per cent improvement in symptoms.

The study also showed that 54 percent of patients who failed to achieve effective control of their symptoms had no change in treatment six months later and 92 percent of patients who failed to maintain control also had no change in treatment six months later.

Dr Anthony Bewley, the lead investigator from Whipps Cross Hospital, highlights the importance of practice nurses in identifying the symptoms of psoriasis and early intervention. 'For most patients, practice nurses are one of their first points of contact when seeking medical help for their psoriasis. Practice nurses play a big role in ensuring that more patients get the right treatment they require.

From educating and advising the patient on how they can best manage their psoriasis, whether that be lifestyle or treatment advice, to encouraging the patient to return for regular reviews, practice nurses can help improve the currently very lengthy cycle of care patients often face. They play an important role in quickly identifying those patients whose psoriasis is not improving and refering them for specialist care if required,' he added.

The study was a retrospective observational study of 221 UK patients with chronic plaque psoriasis that were over 18 years old. Patients were observed from their first biologic therapy. Data were collected from 10 NHS Trust sites across the UK (England, Wales and Scotland).

In the UK there are approximately 1.8 million people living with psoriasis and 20 percent are thought to have moderate to severe psoriasis.
Poorly controlled psoriasis has been suggested to cost the NHS up to approximately £6m per year.

In addition to the cost burden, psoriasis has been associated with depression, anxiety and suicidal feelings, as well as reduced levels of employment and income.

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