Psoriasis patients' willingness to accept side-effect risks for improved treatment efficacy

J Dermatolog Treat. 2015;26(6):507-13. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2015.1034071. Epub 2015 May 6.


Background: Previous studies suggest that efficacy is more important than side-effect risks to psoriasis patients. However, those studies did not consider potentially fatal risks of biologic treatments.

Objective: To quantify the risks patients are willing to accept for improvements in psoriasis symptoms.

Methods: Adults with a self-reported physician diagnosis of psoriasis were recruited through the National Psoriasis Foundation. Using a discrete-choice experiment, patients completed a series of nine choice questions, each including a pair of hypothetical treatments. Treatments were defined by severity of plaques, body surface area (BSA), and 10-year risks of tuberculosis, serious infection and lymphoma.

Results: For complete clearance of 25% BSA with mild plaques, respondents (n = 1608) were willing to accept a 20% (95% confidence interval: 9-26%) risk of serious infection, 10% (5-15%) risk of tuberculosis and 2% (1-3%) risk of lymphoma. For complete clearance of 25% BSA with severe plaques, respondents were willing to accept a 54% (48-62%) risk of serious infection, 36% (28-49%) risk of tuberculosis and 8% (7-9%) risk of lymphoma.

Limitations: Respondents were asked to evaluate hypothetical scenarios. Actual treatment choices may differ.

Conclusion: Respondents were willing to accept risks above likely clinical exposures for improvements in psoriasis symptoms. Individual risk tolerances may vary.

Keywords: Benefit-risk; discrete-choice experiment; maximum acceptable risk; psoriasis; risk tolerance; tumor necrosis factor blocker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Therapy / adverse effects
  • Biological Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome