New Paper Empowers Psoriasis Patients to Reach Significant Treatment Goals
Portland, Ore. (December 1, 2016) – More than 8 million people in the U.S. have psoriasis and current methods of managing the disease have resulted in patient frustration, largely due to the lack of a standardized treatment targets for achieving clear skin. Determining the degree of skin clearance and how soon it should occur is paramount in the management of the disease.
For the first time in the United States, patients now have the ability to work with their health care provider to create a proactive treatment plan with a distinct set of measurable targets. Led by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Medical Board, a paper was issued that defines treatment targets, which includes not only treatment goals, but information on how long it should take to achieve each goal. The paper is available online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
“This is a pivotal, groundbreaking effort that defines treatment targets for psoriasis patients in the U.S.,” said Dr. April Armstrong, co-author of the paper, NPF Medical Board member and dermatologist at the University of Southern California. “The goal is to spark a dialogue between patients and health care providers about setting goals and to have a defined set of metrics to evaluate the current course of treatment.”
According to NPF surveys, as many as 18 percent of psoriasis patients experience moderate to severe psoriasis which covers more than 3 percent of a patient’s body surface area (BSA). The new paper establishes an initial goal of reducing psoriasis BSA coverage to one percent or less within three months of starting treatment. If after three months a patient has seen some improvement, but not down to the one percent level, an “acceptable response” is defined as a 75 percent improvement in BSA. Six months after starting treatment, patients that achieve a BSA of one percent or less should continue to check in with their health care provider every six months to maintain this target.
Given that there are many treatment options available to patients, there is no one-size-fits-all path to skin clearance. If patients do not meet the targets, then it is recommended that patients and their health care providers discuss treatment options and expectations. The decision for how to proceed is unique for each patient. Target goals are not based on any specific treatments, and all treatment decisions should be determined by the patient and their health care provider.
A unique consortium of doctors and psoriasis patients, including NPF Medical Board members and other leaders in the field of dermatology, developed these targets through a lengthy process of research, discussion and consensus-building.
“These targets are a very exciting step in empowering patients to understand what is possible in the treatment of their skin,” said Dr. Abby Van Voorhees, co-author of the paper, chair of the NPF Medical Board, and professor and chair of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. “Treatment targets were developed by thought leaders in psoriasis with key input by both practicing dermatologists and patients. The voice of both of these groups was very important in finalizing the guidelines.”
Patients may receive more information about these new treatment targets by contacting the NPF Patient Navigation Center at 800-723-9166, option 1 or visit www.psoriasis.org/navigationcenter.
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
Serving its community through more than 50 years of patient support, advocacy, research funding, and education, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world’s leading nonprofit fighting for individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The NPF mission is to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and dramatically improve the lives of more than 8 million Americans affected by this chronic immune-mediated disease. As part of that effort, NPF created its Patient Navigation Center to offer personalized assistance to everyone with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. To date, NPF has funded more than $21 million in research grants and fellowships that help drive discoveries that may lead to more and better treatments and ultimately a cure. Learn more at www.psoriasis.org.