Young people living with psoriasis want to clear their lesions while taking a safe and effective treatment, according to a recent study. They also want treatments that can help boost their self-esteem, reduce bullying, and improve their overall quality of life. These were among the findings in a study out of the Netherlands aiming at filling the gap in research on children and young adults living with psoriasis and their opinions and experiences on their treatment plans.
Overall, researchers found that the main treatment goals among young people were similar, but they found notable differences when factoring in age and gender. Females, for example, attributed greater importance to improving their self-esteem and social relationships, compared to males. Meanwhile, older respondents cited improving their quality of life as being of higher importance compared to younger participants.
“These differences emphasize the relevance of incorporating individual patient needs in the shared decision making process with physicians and patients, and indicate that patient needs may alter when going through different stages of life,” the researchers noted in the study. “To provide optimal care, interactive counseling should address the different needs of pediatric patients and their parents.”
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease that causes discolored, itchy patches on the skin — known as plaques or lesions. Symptoms of psoriasis often start showing in the teens and 20s, with up to one-third of cases being diagnosed before adulthood. Young people living with psoriasis can have negative experiences with the disease, and research shows that it can affect their emotional, physical, and psychological well-being.
Living with a disease like psoriasis during important developmental years has its challenges, and there are needs and goals that may be different from those in adults. However, most of the existing research only includes adults in the studies. With this, the recent study from researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands set out to determine what young people and their parents value in their treatment plans.
Overall, the study included 64 pediatric participants (ages 17 and under) and 45 of their parents, and 131 young adults (ages 18 to 30). Almost 70 percent of the participants were female, and the median age was 20.2 years. The data was collected from an online survey, which asked participants questions about the severity of psoriasis, any treatments they are taking, their treatment goals, and more.
The most important treatment goals among all of the participants included:
Among preferred treatment types:
Overall, 42 percent of participants also listed “high effectiveness” as a main characteristic that they value in their treatments. “Safe on long-term” followed at 20.7 percent.
When the participants were asked about their ideal treatment, many responded that they want a safe and effective treatment that does not take up their time and allows them to live a normal life.
The participants also answered differently based on gender. For example, females cited among their most important treatment goals:
More than half of all female respondents also included among their most important treatment goals living a normal everyday life (65.1 percent), having better quality sleep (61.2 percent), functioning better at school or work (61.2 percent), and being able to have a normal sex life or greater intimacy (57.1 percent).
For males, top treatment goals included:
More than half of male respondents also included living a normal everyday life (54.5 percent) and getting better quality sleep (52.7 percent) as important treatment goals.
Age also played a role in responses to the survey. For young adults, top treatment goals included:
Adolescents said their most important goals included:
The complete study is available through the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.
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