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Psoriasis Foundation Consensus Statement Examines Psoriasis Severity in a New Light

PORTLAND, Ore., February 19, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A National Psoriasis Foundation consensus paper that offers a new way of considering psoriasis severity has been published in the February 2007 Archives of Dermatology.

"The National Psoriasis Foundation Clinical Consensus on Disease Severity" was co-authored by members of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board, Psoriasis Foundation Research Director Liz Horn, Ph.D., and Advocacy Director Sheila Rittenberg.

Psoriasis severity is often assessed by how much body surface area (BSA) the disease covers and is frequently classified as mild, moderate and severe based on BSA. This classification system is used in clinical trials, by doctors making treatment decisions and by insurance carriers to determine coverage.

The current classification system has limitations and does not take into account other factors that can influence severity, such as location of psoriasis, type of psoriasis, diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, and the influence of psoriasis on patient quality of life. Because these additional factors can influence severity, a task force of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board developed a clinical consensus statement proposing a novel severity classification system that better reflects how patients are treated in clinical practice.

Rather than using the mild/moderate/severe classification system, the paper recommends two categories for patients - patients who are candidates for localized therapy (such as topical treatments) and those who are candidates for systemic and/or phototherapy (such as methotrexate or biologics).

This statement eliminates the terminology of mild, moderate and severe, and focuses on how patients should be treated for their disease, rather than focusing on severity. The paper also recommends that doctors give equal consideration to both the physical and emotional aspects of psoriasis when making treatment plans for their patients.

"This new system looks at patient care in terms of how best to treat the disease, not just how much body coverage the patient has," said David Pariser, M.D., lead author of the paper. "The goal is to encourage doctors to think differently about treating psoriasis patients, and to help insurance carriers better understand psoriasis."

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a noncontagious, genetic disease that results when faulty signals in the immune system prompt skin cells to regenerate too quickly, causing red, scaly lesions that can crack and bleed. It often affects the elbows, knees, scalp and torso but can appear anywhere on the body. As many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Ten percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints. Psoriasis can affect anyone at any age, including children. There is no cure yet for this lifelong disease.

About the National Psoriasis Foundation

The National Psoriasis Foundation is the leading patient-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for millions of Americans with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and their families. We focus on education, advocacy and research toward better treatments and a cure. For more information, please call the Psoriasis Foundation, headquartered in Portland, Ore., at 800.723.9166, or visit

CONTACT: Paula Fasano, Marketing and Communications, 800-723-9166, orcell, +1-503-860-6852, or , or Liz Horn, Ph.D.,Director of Research, +1-503-319-5784, both for National PsoriasisFoundation

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Posted: February 2007