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22 June 2021
PsoProtectMe survey findings describe the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in people with psoriasis
Worsening psoriasis is common during the pandemic, and is associated with poor mental health.
New findings published in the Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology have identified a major burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in people with psoriasis: worsening psoriasis is common and is associated with poor mental health.
The researchers suggest that access to psychological support may help to reduce potentially long-lasting effects of the pandemic on people with psoriasis, and that healthcare professionals need to discuss and address their patients’ concerns around the risk of taking their tablet/injection treatments for psoriasis during the pandemic.
These findings are based on data collected through the global PsoProtectMe survey for people with psoriasis.
Here is a short summary of the research findings:
The pandemic has caused a rise in mental health illness in the general population and reduced access to routine healthcare. This has led to concern over the physical and psychological impact of the pandemic on people with psoriasis. We wanted to better understand this impact to inform immediate priorities for clinical care.
To do this, we invited people with psoriasis to provide information on their psoriasis and mental health. We collected this information through a series of structured questions in a web-based survey for people with psoriasis called PsoProtectMe (www.psoprotectme.org).
Four thousand and forty-three people (without COVID-19) from 86 countries (most frequently UK [2,215, 55%], USA [243, 6%], Portugal [227, 6%]) completed the PsoProtectMe survey between May 2020 and January 2021 (average age 47 years; more women [2,684, 66%] than men [1,359, 34%]). One thousand, seven hundred and twenty-eight participants (43%) reported that their psoriasis got worse during the pandemic.
A greater proportion of those reporting worsening psoriasis had signs of anxiety or depression (47%) compared to those without worsening psoriasis (29%). Individuals were also more likely to have worsening psoriasis in the pandemic if they were female, obese, shielding (not leaving home and minimising all face-to-face contact) or not taking their tablet or injection treatments for psoriasis (immunosuppressants). The commonest reason for patients to decide to stop treatment was a concern over complications related to COVID-19. This an important observation since current guidelines recommend continuing immunosuppressants to maintain disease control.
This study identifies a major burden of the pandemic in people with psoriasis: worsening psoriasis is common and is associated with poor mental health. Access to psychological support may help to reduce potentially long-lasting effects of the pandemic on people with psoriasis. The study also identifies a need for healthcare professionals to discuss and address their patients’ concerns around the risk of taking their tablet/injection treatment for psoriasis in the pandemic.
End of summary
You can read the full article here.
If you have psoriasis yourself, you can report your experiences of life during the COVID-19 pandemic (whether or not you have had symptoms of COVID-19) here.
If you are a healthcare professional treating patients with psoriasis, please continue to report cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection in your patients here.