Complementary and alternative medicines in psoriasis are typically employed by patients for who traditional treatment regimens are unsuccessful, and few report limited care access as a reason for seeking out alternative therapies, according to survey results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
“Over 40% of the respondents reported using an alternative or complementary therapy, which highlights that people are going to use these. We need to know everything our patients are taking to get a good picture of their overall management and from a safety perspective,” Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and residency program director and director of translational research in the department of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences said in an interview.
Researchers used a survey promoted in the National Psoriasis Foundation’s October 2018 newsletter sent to 100,927 members, of whom 219 completed the survey (68.5% women; 84.1% white).
The use of alternative therapies was reported by 41% of respondents, of whom 50% classify their psoriasis as severe vs. 33.6% as nonsevere (P = .04).
Women were more likely to use complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) than men, at 45.6% vs. 26.5% (P = .002).
The major reasons for using CAMs were failure of traditional medications or treatment adverse effects.
Only 4% of respondents cited care access was a reason for CAM use.
More men than women reported using vitamins (24% vs. 18.9%), Dead Sea bath salts (17% vs. 7.8%) and cupping (3% vs. 0.8%). However, more women than men reported using herbals/botanicals (17% vs. 14%) and yoga (9.6% vs. 2%; P = .017 for all).
According to the survey, 42.7% of respondents would recommend CAMs to others.
More than half of patients with moderate psoriasis (52.4%) were more likely to recommend CAMs than those with mild (35%) or severe psoriasis (40.4%; P = .005).
Indigo naturalis was not mentioned by respondents but has demonstrated efficacy, according to researchers.
Vitamins were the most popular CAM reported, although vitamin D nor B12 have documented efficacy, the researchers wrote.
It is important to have an open mind and be curious, Friedman added.
“All too often, I’ve had patients tell me they bring different therapies up with their doctors and are made to feel bad about it. If you, the physician doesn’t know about something, it doesn’t make it wrong. Ask why the patient is asking about it. Are they not happy with their treatment regimen? You may find something there that can help your patients rather than the textbook standard approach,” he said. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.