Psoriasis Linked to Diabetes Risk

Type 2 diabetes risk may increase with psoriasis

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Psoriasis has been linked to a number of other health problems, including metabolic syndrome (a set of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes). Now, the link between psoriasis and diabetes has become clearer.

Psoriasis may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Patients with more severe psoriasis appeared to have a higher risk than those with milder psoriasis.

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In their study, Rahat S. Azfar, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues set out to understand the risk of diabetes in people with psoriasis.

"Our results suggest that psoriasis is a risk factor for the development of diabetes and that the risk increases with increasing severity of psoriasis," the authors write.

Dr. Azfar and colleagues also wanted to see if patients with both diabetes and psoriasis were more likely to receive prescription diabetes drugs when compared to diabetes patients without psoriasis.

They found that patients with severe psoriasis and type 2 diabetes were more likely to receive drug therapy for diabetes than diabetes patients without psoriasis. These patients mainly received oral diabetes drugs.

According to the authors, "this study is by far the largest to date to examine the relationship between psoriasis and diabetes."

The large sample size (more than 100,000 psoriasis patients) allowed the researchers to study this relationship with precision, especially when studying the risk of subgroups such as those with severe psoriasis.

The study's results showed that:

  • psoriasis is an independent risk factor for diabetes, with a hazard ratio of 1.14
  • patients with severe psoriasis had the greatest diabetes risk, with a hazard ratio of 1.46
  • patients with severe psoriasis were 1.53 times more likely to be prescribed oral diabetes drugs
  • patients with severe psoriasis were 1.32 times more likely to be prescribed insulin

For their study, the researchers matched 108,132 psoriasis patients between 18 and 90 years of age to 430,716 people without psoriasis.

Study co-author David J. Margolis, MD, is on the data safety monitoring boards for Abbott, Astellas and Centocor.

Co-author Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, has received grants from Amgen, Pfizer, Novartis and Abbott, and is a consultant for Amgen, Abbott, Pfizer, Novartis, Celgene and Centocor.

This research received support from the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.

The study is published in the Archives of Dermatology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 19, 2012
Last Updated:
February 5, 2013