Undertreatment, treatment trends, and treatment dissatisfaction among patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the United States: findings from the National Psoriasis Foundation surveys, 2003-2011

JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Oct;149(10):1180-5. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5264.


Importance: Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis inflict significant morbidity. Data on undertreatment, treatment use, and treatment satisfaction are paramount to identify priority areas for advocacy, education, and research to improve patient outcomes.

Objectives: To determine the extent of nontreatment and undertreatment of psoriatic diseases, trends in treatment use, treatment satisfaction, and reasons for medication discontinuation among patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Design, setting, and participants: We used the national survey data collected by the National Psoriasis Foundation via biannual surveys conducted from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2011, in the United States. Survey data were collected from randomly sampled patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the US population from a database of more than 76,000 patients with psoriatic diseases.

Main outcomes and measures: Nontreatment, undertreatment, and treatment trends determined by the use of prescription medication (topical, phototherapeutic, oral systemic, and biologic), as well as treatment satisfaction and reasons for medication discontinuation.

Results: A total of 5604 patients with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis completed the survey. From 2003 through 2011, patients who were untreated ranged from 36.6% to 49.2% of patients with mild psoriasis, 23.6% to 35.5% of patients with moderate psoriasis, and 9.4% to 29.7% of patients with severe psoriasis. Among those receiving treatment, 29.5% of patients with moderate psoriasis and 21.5% of patients with severe psoriasis were treated with topical agents alone. The most frequently used phototherapy modality is UV-B, whereas methotrexate is the most commonly used oral agent. Although adverse effects and a lack of effectiveness were primary reasons for discontinuing biological agents, the inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage was among the top reasons for discontinuation. Overall, 52.3% of patients with psoriasis and 45.5% of patients with psoriatic arthritis were dissatisfied with their treatment.

Conclusions and relevance: Nontreatment and undertreatment of patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis remain a significant problem in the United States. While various treatment modalities are available for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, widespread treatment dissatisfaction exists. Efforts in advocacy and education are necessary to ensure that effective treatments are accessible to this patient population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / pathology
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / therapy*
  • Data Collection
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Methotrexate