Inconsistent Care for Kids with Psoriasis

Psoriasis treatments need medical guidelines

(RxWiki News) Kids who suffer from the skin condition psoriasis battle with dry, itchy, flaky skin that can cause sore patches. It affects one percent of children and can last a lifetime.

How these children are treated for the condition, however, may depend on what type of doctor they see. Care varies between pediatricians, dermatologists and internists.

"A second specialty opinion may be valuable for kids with psoriasis."

Researchers from the University of California and San Francisco School of Medicine evaluated the medical records of pediatric psoriasis patients over the course of nearly three decades. The data gave approximately 3.8 million doctor visits for the researchers to study.

Of those, about 63 percent of the kids saw a dermatologist; 17 percent saw a pediatrician and 14 percent went to an internist.

The data showed that pediatricians, dermatologists and internists often take different approaches to how they treat children with psoriasis, including medications used. Topical corticosteroids were the most commonly prescribed medications (7 out of 10), with children up to 9 years old receiving doses that were equally as potent as children aged 10 to 18 years.

Dermatologists and internists usually prescribed high-potency steroids, while pediatricians mostly prescribed topical treatments.

The study authors concluded that such high potency steroids are not commonly needed to treat psoriasis in young children, and that inappropriately potent topical cortisteroids may reflect the need for greater physician education in treating children with psoriasis.

"Education of our dermatology and nondermatology colleagues about unique clinical and treatment aspects of pediatric psoriasis, rather than guidelines alone, may decrease the treatment gap," the authors wrote.

The study was published in the September 2011 issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

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Review Date: 
September 30, 2011