The findings of a new study suggest that economic and racial barriers are impacting the treatment of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. New treatments approved in the last 10 years have significantly increased options for psoriasis patients. But this study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that a gap exists in those patients who require the new treatments, and those who are receiving it.
Black patients who receive Medicare are less likely to get biologic therapies, the study showed. Additionally, patients who do not have low income subsidy (LIS) as part of their Medicare are also less likely to receive biologics than patients who do.
The researchers analyzed nationwide data on Medicare beneficiaries from 2011. They identified psoriasis patients, examined their clinical characteristics, and determined the prevalence of their psoriasis therapies. They focused on the factors that would make it more or less likely for a patient to receive biologic medication.
Of the total in the study who had psoriasis, just 10% were receiving biologics. Seventy-one percent of these cases were mild, while 27% were moderate to severe. These findings are similar to studies that have examined the use of biologic therapies among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Further studies are needed to determine why these barriers to treatment exist, said the authors.
Lead author Junko Takeshita, MD, PhD, a dermatologist at Penn Medicine stated, “Although the biologics are generally regarded as being highly effective treatments for patients with moderate or severe psoriasis, our results suggest that out-of-pocket costs and race may impact who receives these treatments.”