This article was originally published here
J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021 Apr 3. doi: 10.1111/jocd.14104. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that needs continuous medical care. During COVID-19, delivering medical service was negatively affected.
AIMS: To describe the impact of COVID-19 on psoriasis healthcare delivery, management, and practice.
METHODS: This observational cross-sectional study was conducted on 197 dermatologists using a validated online questionnaire. The survey evaluated the effect of COVID-19 on the decisions, prescription patterns, appointments rescheduling, and healthcare delivery for psoriasis patients by dermatologists. The questionnaire was developed and validated with a reliability score >0.7.
RESULTS: During the pandemic, most dermatologists delayed initiating biological/immunosuppressive therapy for psoriasis unless urgently needed by the patient. For patients already receiving biologics or immunosuppressive treatment, most dermatologists favored continuation of therapy. Almost half (44.2%) of participants do not perform SARS-CoV-2 PCR screening before initiating biologics/immunosuppressive therapy. Dermatologists also reported an increased prescription of topical medications (79.2%), natural sunlight (28.4%), acitretin (26.9%), and home UVB (21.3%). Opinions regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment/prophylaxis for psoriasis patients were controversial. Intervals between face-to-face follow-up visits were prolonged by 71.6% of dermatologists. More than half of participants reported that their patients discontinued treatment without medical consultation. More than three fourth of responders either agreed or strongly agreed that COVID-19 negatively affected psoriasis patients.
CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on psoriasis management and healthcare delivery. Dermatologists are cautious about using biologics and immunosuppressive drugs during the pandemic, making case-by-case decisions. Psoriasis patients need compliance monitoring, and psychological support during the pandemic, which can be facilitated by teledermatology.