Pediatric psoriasis patients should be screened regularly to identify risk factors for comorbidities including depression, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, according to the debut guidelines issued by an expert panel.
The National Psoriasis Foundation and the Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance joined forces to assess the literature and develop recommendations for screening comorbidities for children with psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation has guidelines for comorbidity screening in adults with psoriasis, but no guidelines previously existed for children, wrote Emily Osier, MD, of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, and her colleagues (JAMA Dermatol 2017 May 17.).
The panelists reviewed the literature on psoriasis and comorbidities published between 1999 and 2015 and identified 153 studies, 26 of which involved children.
“The screening recommendations derived are largely consistent with those endorsed by the AAP for the general pediatric patient,” the researchers noted.
Although many young children are screened for a range of comorbid conditions at annual checkups, preteens and teenagers may be less likely to receive preventive services in primary care, they said. “Thus, all health care providers caring for patients with pediatric psoriasis should help assess and ensure that appropriate screening has been performed,” they emphasized.
Some notable recommendations include the following:
• Screen children with psoriasis for overweight and obesity annually using body mass index percentiles.
• Screen for diabetes every 3 years starting at age 10 years.
• Perform universal lipid screening at ages 9-11 years and 17-21 years.
• Screen for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease every 2-3 years starting at age 9-11 years.
• Screen for hypertension annually starting at age 3 years.
• Screen for arthritis at the time of psoriasis diagnosis and periodically.
• Screen yearly for depression and anxiety at all ages, with yearly screening for substance abuse starting at age 11 years.
Uveitis screening is recommended only for children with psoriatic arthritis, the researchers said.
In addition, clinicians “should recognize the profound psychosocial ramifications of psoriasis and the potential significant impact on quality of life of patients and caregivers,” the researchers wrote. Clinicians may consider a formal quality of life measurement, such as the, or at least asking questions about the impact of psoriasis on the child’s life at home, at school, and during other activities.
Awareness of comorbidities also impacts potential psoriasis treatment, the researchers said. “Direct baseline screening and monitoring tests should be performed as indicated by each individual’s therapeutic plan,” they said.
The consensus statement is a starting point for screening that will be refined over time, and may include stratifying patients by age, disease subtype, or disease severity, the researchers noted.
“Communication and collaboration between dermatologists, primary care providers, and other pediatric specialists will be critical to accomplish the recommended screenings and to limit the sequelae of this disorder,” they wrote.
The National Psoriasis Foundation and the University of California, San Diego, Eczema and Inflammatory Skin Disease Center supported the study. Dr. Osier was supported in part by a Medical Dermatology Research Fellowship grant from the National Psoriasis Foundation in 2014-2016, but she had no financial conflicts to disclose.