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Medication Adherence in Patients with Psoriasis

A health education intervention may help improved poor medication adherence in patients with psoriasis, a new study found. Researchers studied 200 patients with psoriasis using questionnaires to determine their medication adherence and the factors that influence adherence. Low mediation adherence was identified in 117 patients; 96 patients were randomized into intervention and control groups. The intervention group received health education during 6-month therapy. Among the findings:

  • Medication adherence of patients with psoriasis was poor (41.5%).
  • Factors associated with adherence included sociological characteristics, disease characteristics, medicine type, cognitive level toward psoriasis, care indicators, and social environment.
  • Those in the intervention group demonstrated greater adherence improvement vs the control group (83.7% vs 6.4%).


Wang W, Qiu Y, Zhao F, Zhang F. Poor medication adherence in patients with psoriasis and a successful intervention. J Dermatolog Treat. 2019;10:1-4. doi:10.1080/09546634.2018.1476652.


There are many variables that contribute to the low adherence seen with medications (topicals, oral agents, biologics) to treat psoriasis. Perceived safety is a common reason why people discontinue or stretch out their systemic medications. Patients feel that less dosing is safer with biologic agents despite informing them the long-term safety regardless of dosing. Another common reason for stopping the agent is skin clearance and patients feel continuing the medication is unnecessary. Topical agents have low compliance rates for several reasons: large body surface areas that require lengthy periods of time to apply and the vehicle that can feel greasy and stain clothing. Careful explanation and intervention to the patient could result in better adherence. —Paul S. Yamauchi, MD, PhD; Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Division of Dermatology; Adjunct Associate Professor John Wayne Cancer Institute.