Transforming the Treatment of Psoriasis from the Inside Out
Each year at Janssen we mark World Psoriasis Day. We do so in support of the more than 100 million people affected worldwide.
This week as we recognize psoriasis patients and their carers we pause to reflect on the 2017 theme ‘Psoriasis Inside Out’. We are reminded of how diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are often misunderstood, with many patients living without accurate diagnosis. Psoriasis is so much more than what is seen on the outside. Every aspect of life is impacted when someone is diagnosed with a form of psoriasis, plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
What’s more, it is also a disease that is associated with one of the highest rates of co-morbidity. People living with severe psoriasis are 58% more likely to have a heart attack and 30% more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. While prevalence is relatively low in Asian populations (0.1 to 0.6%), in some countries in Asia Pacific such as Australia, prevalence can be as high as 6.6% in populations of different ethnicities.
The impact of disease on a physical, social and emotional level is huge. In fact, a study comparing psoriasis to other chronic conditions, found its mental and physical impact to be similar to that seen in cancer, heart disease and depression. Added to this is the enormity of social stigma and shame that patients report enduring on a regular basis because of their disease.
In my years as a practising dermatologist, I’ve seen first-hand the ways in which psoriasis can impact a patient’s life. The embarrassment, the anxiety, the depression they feel can be overwhelming and have a profound impact on their lives, their relationships, work and lifestyle choices.
I remember treating a male patient in his 30’s with severe chronic plaque psoriasis. He’d been ‘doctor shopping’ for a while before we met. He’d tried everything from traditional herbal medicine to topical agents but still had poor control of the disease. He was distressed, had lost his confidence and withdrawn from social activity.
I explained to him that psoriasis should be considered a systemic inflammatory disease, and that the best approach would be to partner together, as doctor and patient, to figure out how to control his symptoms and manage the disease. We spoke about the importance of adherence to therapy too and that lifestyle change can also play an important part in managing the disease. Six months into his treatment journey the patient had almost full skin clearance, and was back to enjoying regular outdoor activity. This type of doctor-patient partnership is key to fighting any disease, especially psoriasis.
Similarly, at Janssen, we are firmly committed to fighting psoriasis inside and out, helping tackle myths and misconceptions through awareness, education and collaboration with patients, physicians and the broader health community. We are also focused on bringing new advanced therapies that improve the lives of patients living with psoriasis. Our goal is to support healthcare systems in delivering effective and efficient chronic care.
Across Asia and beyond, Janssen is working to create a world free from immune diseases like psoriasis and to bring its impact “inside out” to improve awareness. Join us and show your support this World Psoriasis Day!