A recent survey performed at the George Washington School of Medicine showed that patients with psoriasis will often turn to alternative therapies if they feel that the traditional methods are not treating their disease effectively.
How the Survey was Done
The survey was done by the National Psoriasis Foundation. The Foundation sent the survey to more than 100,000 of its own members. Unfortunately, only 220 completed the survey and returned it to the Foundation Board. The Board then published the results in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Of the 220 that did complete the survey, approximately 70% were female and 30% were male. Most of the patients had their psoriasis diagnosed by an actual dermatologist, and most of their medications were covered by their personal health insurance. The study also asked about the severity of each patient’s psoriasis. This was evaluated by how much of the body the disease covered and how bad each patient felt their case was.
About 90 of the patients said that they used alternative therapies to treat psoriasis. The patients who thought their case was more severe were more likely to use one of these alternative therapies. Also, 40% reported using therapies in combination with the ones prescribed by their doctor, and women were more likely to do that than men.
The most common reason that patients decided to use a different therapy is that the traditional methods were not helping enough or brought on some other bad effects. 4% of the survey respondents did say that they did not have access to traditional care, though.
Patients also said that they used things like Vitamin D and B12, which have not been shown to help psoriasis. Others reported using therapies that had not even been studied for treating psoriasis. The lead author of the survey, Adam J. Friedman, said that the most commonly cited reason for patients choosing these alternative therapies is that the traditional methods were not helping them. However, Friedman also said that patients definitely do not understand which treatments and therapies work best for them. As a result, patients are willing to try almost anything.
Choosing the Right Treatments
Friedman and his colleagues also thought it was important to note that less than half of the people who responded said they would recommend these alternative treatments to other people who are affected by this disease. This shows that the therapies were likely not effective for people who did choose to use them. This reveals why there has been so little evidence to support these different treatments.
The authors of the survey believe that the best thing for physicians to do about these problems is start educating their patients about additional and alternative medicine. This way, the people who are looking for access to these different treatments can know which ones are backed by research and supported by evidence. As a result, the researchers believe that physicians can improve patient outcomes and make psoriasis treatment more effective.