From the Journals

Positive psoriatic arthritis screens occur often in psoriasis patients



One out of eight patients with psoriasis had a positive screen for possibly undiagnosed psoriatic arthritis, according to an analysis of data from a prospective registry.

Dr. Philip J. Mease, University of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Philip J. Mease

The finding highlights the need for better psoriatic arthritis screening among patients with psoriasis, said Philip J. Mease, MD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and associates. The simple, five-question Psoriasis Epidemiology Screening Tool (PEST) used in this study could be deployed in general or dermatology practices to identify psoriasis patients who might need a rheumatology referral, they wrote. The report is in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Up to 30% of patients with psoriasis have comorbid psoriatic arthritis, but many such cases go undiagnosed, and even a 6-month diagnostic delay can worsen peripheral joint erosion and physical disability.

This study included 1,516 patients with psoriasis seen at 114 private and academic practices in 34 states that participate in the independent, prospective Corrona Psoriasis Registry. A total of 904 patients without dermatologist-reported psoriatic arthritis responded to the validated PEST, which assesses risk of psoriatic arthritis by asking whether the test taker has been told by a doctor that he or she has arthritis and whether they have experienced swollen joints, heel pain, pronounced and unexplained swelling of a finger or toe, and pitting of the fingernails or toenails. Each “yes” response is worth 1 point, and total scores of 3 or higher indicate risk of psoriatic arthritis. A total of 112 (12.4%) had a score of 3 or higher.

The average age of patients who met this threshold was 53 years, 4 years older than those who did not (P = .02). Patients with PEST scores of 3 or more also had a significantly longer duration of psoriasis and were significantly more likely to have nail disease and a family history of psoriasis. Demographically, they were more likely to be white, female, and unemployed. They had significantly higher rates of several comorbidities, including depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and serious infections. Finally, they reported having significantly more pain and fatigue and significantly worse health-related quality of life.

The study did not account for possible confounding. “Further research is needed to characterize patients by individual PEST score and to assess outcomes over time,” the researchers wrote. “The use of screening tools can be beneficial in the detection of psoriatic arthritis, and comprehensive efforts to validate them in multiple clinical settings must continue, along with collection of critical feedback from patients and clinicians.”

Corrona and Novartis designed and helped conduct the study. Novartis, the chief funder, participated in data analysis and manuscript review. Dr. Mease disclosed research funding from Novartis and several other pharmaceutical companies. He also disclosed consulting and speakers bureau fees from Novartis, Corrona, and several other companies.

SOURCE: Mease PJ et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Mar 5. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15443.

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