The ripple effect of pediatric psoriasis

| Melissa Leavitt

As many as one-third of people with psoriasis develop the disease during childhood, and studies have found that about 1.2 percent of children have psoriasis. Along with this high prevalence comes a growing recognition that pediatric psoriasis affects more than just the patient.

Research shows that psoriasis can negatively impact the quality of life not just of young patients, but of their families and caregivers as well. Results from a 2016 survey conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation indicate that parents of kids with psoriasis may not be happy with their child’s medical care. Out of a group of 36 parents of children with psoriasis, less than half reported being “very satisfied” with the treatment their child received for psoriasis.

The 2016 NPF survey indicated that most children with psoriasis — 72 percent of the group surveyed — use topicals for their psoriasis, with more than 40 percent turning to over-the-counter products.

The good news is that treatment options are expanding. In November 2016, Enbrel (etanercept) became the first biologic approved for use in kids from ages 4 to 17. The bad news is that there are still fewer approved therapies for children than there are for adults.

And because using psoriasis medications can be time-consuming and expensive, the needs of the whole family must be taken into account when choosing a treatment approach.

A study published in November 2016 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology measured the burden of psoriasis on caregivers by asking the parents of children with psoriasis how the disease affects them. Results indicated that psoriasis can be distressing for parents and children alike, disrupting everything from family outings to household activities.

Out of 31 parents who participated in the survey, nearly half said they felt sad or frustrated because of their child’s disease. Almost two-thirds of parents reported that they had to change their or their family’s activities to accommodate the needs of their child’s psoriasis.


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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