People Living with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Dissatisfied with Current Treatment

The intensity and severity of flares experienced by people living with plaque psoriasis (Pso) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may not be getting the attention they deserve as evidenced by the latest results of Health Union’s Psoriasis In America and Psoriatic Arthritis In America 2018 surveys. In addition to the constant struggle of managing flares and the consequences that accompany them, the majority are also dissatisfied with current treatment. These findings suggest that there’s an important opportunity for the biopharma industry to facilitate more effective discussions between patients and healthcare providers.

A flare is thought to be an intensification or worsening of symptoms that interferes with daily tasks and renders patients unable to carry out their normal daily lives. In a psoriatic arthritis flare, for example, people often experience flu-like symptoms and swollen joints, expressing an “inability to live a normal life” and feeling “miserable but spending all my energy to look normal to the world!”

For many patients, these struggles are constantly present. Over the past year, 45 percent of Psoriasis In America 2018 survey respondents have experienced more than 10 psoriasis flares, with over 4 in 10 of them currently experiencing a flare. Flares can often result in depression, trouble sleeping or needing more rest—almost 4 in 10 people with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis experience anxiety or panic disorders.

“My plaques make me feel incredibly unattractive, dirty from the constant flaking, and sad,” wrote an anonymous Pso survey respondent. “I have difficulty being intimate with my boyfriend and I am embarrassed to wear my hair up in a ponytail because it will expose bloody discolored patches. I spend a lot of time picking at my skin and exfoliating and moisturizing to try and smooth out my rough plaques. Physically I am in a lot of pain, but I am also in a lot of pain emotionally due to my flare-ups and being bullied for my symptoms.”

People living with these conditions work hard to manage their health, but a majority of survey respondents in both conditions were dissatisfied with their overall treatment experience and use of branded medication. Only 10 percent of Pso patients and just seven percent of PsA patients felt their condition was controlled.*

Listening to and understanding a patient’s perspective on the severity of their condition is powerful for healthcare marketers, but survey results reveal there may be a misalignment in the medical community on gauging the impact of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis on the patient themselves. Health Union found that a quarter of PsA patients consider their PsA severe, but when measured on the Stanford HAQ 8-Item Disability Scale, only one percent were classified as severe. This gap between perception and classification may lead to misunderstandings in the healthcare community on the true impact of conditions like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriasis In America and Psoriatic Arthritis In America 2018 results found that a majority of patients with either condition turn to condition-specific websites or Internet search to learn about or manage their health, searching for topics like pain management, coping with flares, and medication and treatments. Online health communities, like the ones Health Union cultivates at Psoriatic-Arthritis.com and PlaquePsoriasis.com, not only help people living with these conditions gain information, connection, and validation, they also advance the knowledge of biopharmaceutical partners about the patient journey that delivers valuable solutions that make your consumer and patient marketing programs smarter and more effective.

To learn more about these survey results and how you can integrate these insights into your marketing programs, contact our Insights team at Insights@health-union.com.

*Top 2 box on a 7-point scale.