GRAND CAYMAN (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Emerging data increasingly link psoriasis with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression, leading one expert to suggest a more integrated approach to care in patients with these comorbid conditions.

“I think people are starting to understand that the skin is just a marker for inflammation,” Dr. J. Mark Jackson of the University of Louisville (Ky.), said at this year’s annual Caribbean Dermatology Symposium, provided by Global Academy for Medical Education, a sister company to this news organization.

Growing evidence suggests cardiovascular disease is more common in patients with severe psoriasis. The overlap between the two disease states is thought to occur through similar patterns of inflammation, which Dr. Jackson said indicates that patient outcomes for both could be better if clinicians take an integrated approach to treatment. “Skin disease is an excellent way to study new therapies for other diseases,” said Dr. Jackson. “We can actually look at the skin, so it’s a lot easier to study it than the kidney, heart, or lung” ( J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Nov 12;67[3]:357-62 ).

Screening for CVD, as well as for other comorbidities, such as diabetes and depression – both of which tend to occur at higher rates in persons with psoriasis – could also help improve compliance rates, according to Dr. Jackson ( Dermatology. 2012;225[2]:121-6 ). .

“Especially if patients are heavy, if they smoke, if their lipids are high, if they have high blood pressure, or a history of heart disease, it’s important to remember that all of these things are connected to chronic inflammation. I think if we keep that in mind, we can have a better health outcome overall,” Dr. Jackson said.

A survey of 163 psoriasis patients published in 2012 found that comorbidities significantly affected patients’ preferences for psoriasis treatments: Those with psoriatic arthritis were more focused on the probability of benefit (P = .037), those with CVD worried about the probability of side effects (P = .046), and those with depression were concerned about treatment duration (P = .047), and cost (P = .023) ( J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Oct 19;67[3]:363-72 ).

Because psoriasis is also associated with higher prevalence and incidence rates of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, particularly in patients with severe psoriasis, Dr. Jackson recommended screening for these diseases when monitoring patients during their follow-up visits ( JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Jan;149[1]:84-91 ).

“Metabolic syndrome gives you more trouble controlling psoriasis and vice versa,” Dr. Jackson said. “It’s important to tell patients that the better health they are in, the better their medicines will work, and the better response their psoriasis will have.”

Dr. Jackson has financial ties to several pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie, Amgen, Dermira, Galdera, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and others.

On Twitter @whitneymcknight


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