Home Health “Psoriasis is not just a skin disease, but a systemic disease… Consistent treatment-management is essential.”

“Psoriasis is not just a skin disease, but a systemic disease… Consistent treatment-management is essential.”

by news dir
Interview with Choi Yong-beom, president of the Korean Psoriasis Society
Complications – High possibility of causing mental illness… Get proper treatment as soon as possible
Recently, various biologics have been developed… A cure is difficult, but the impact can be reduced
If you take good care of it, you can keep your skin clean.

With the release of the latest treatment for psoriasis, the treatment effect has improved significantly compared to the past. However, many patients still avoid psoriasis treatment or suffer from wrong treatment. Choi Yong-beom, president of the Korean Psoriasis Society. Provided by the Korean Psoriasis Society

The 29th is World Psoriasis Day. As the physical and psychological pain and social discrimination experienced by psoriasis patients are highlighted, the focus is on providing treatment that considers the long-term prognosis of the patient. Choi Yong-beom, a professor of dermatology at Konkuk University Hospital, was inaugurated as the new president of the Korean Society for Psoriasis. We met Chairman Choi to hear the latest knowledge about the changing environment for psoriasis treatment.

―How do you feel about taking office as the new president? .

Since its establishment in 1997, the Korean Society for Psoriasis has made various efforts, including research exchanges to improve the domestic psoriasis treatment environment, and revitalization of patient and medical staff education. More than 20 years have passed since its foundation, but it is surprising to see how the field of psoriasis treatment has developed over a short and long period of time. I think that the efforts of the executives and members of the society may have contributed to the development of the society. In the future, we will do our best so that the society can play an important role in the development of the field of psoriasis.

―What is the current prevalence of psoriasis and severe psoriasis in Korea? According to the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service in 2020, there have been more than 160,000 psoriasis patients in Korea over the past five years. Each year, there were about 1.4 times more male patients than female patients. The prevalence of severe psoriasis is 10-20% of all psoriasis patients, and it is estimated that about 30,000 patients in Korea suffer from severe psoriasis. – Precautions to be taken when treating psoriasis… .

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Psoriasis is a systemic disease, not just a skin disease. It is associated with various comorbidities. If left untreated, inflammation spreads throughout the body and can cause various abnormal symptoms as well as skin symptoms.

Psoriasis patients face many difficulties in social life and interpersonal relationships due to visible skin lesions and scales (white dead skin cells) that fall off whenever they move. A study published in 2019 found that people with psoriasis had a higher risk of developing mental disorders, including anxiety disorders, depression, and neurotic disorders, than normal people.

Although psoriasis itself is a problem, it is important to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible because it can accompany other complications or mental disorders such as depression.

-Psoriasis is known to be difficult to treat.

The environment for treating psoriasis has evolved a lot. However, there are still many patients who do not fully understand the disease or treatment. The main characteristic of chronic diseases such as psoriasis is that they cannot be cured and have to live with them for a long time. For this reason, even if patients are well treated, treatment is arbitrarily stopped when there is a slight improvement. Conversely, if there is no improvement even after receiving treatment, the symptoms may worsen by giving up treatment in the middle. In particular, there are cases where they move to various medical institutions or rely on folk remedies or alternative medicine.

Since psoriasis is difficult to cure, it must be treated and managed continuously with a long-term will. These days, the effects of treatments are very good, so you can expect completely clean skin if you get the treatment right. In addition, if you take good care of your clean skin for a long time, you can live like a normal person. In other words, psoriasis has become a disease that can be managed and managed well if it is accompanied by accurate recognition of the disease and proper treatment.

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―How far has the level of psoriasis treatment in Korea come?

Until just 10 years ago, it was a very difficult disease to treat. Fortunately, recently, biologics such as interleukin-23 and interleukin-17 inhibitors have appeared, which has brought a new paradigm to the treatment of psoriasis. These therapeutic agents are therapeutics that suppress the immune action that causes psoriasis, and can treat psoriasis, an immune disease, more fundamentally. With the active use of these biologics, the current goal of treating psoriasis has reached a level where improvement to ‘completely clear skin (PASI 100)’ is considered beyond ‘nearly clear skin (PASI 90)’.

It is also noteworthy that biologics are showing effectiveness in terms of improving skin as well as reducing comorbidities. A recent study on the effects of psoriasis treatment methods on the occurrence of cardiovascular complications, conducted with a research team at Konkuk University, confirmed that among psoriasis treatments, the biologics treatment group reduced the risk of cardiovascular complications unlike other treatment groups.

Currently, even patients with severe psoriasis can maintain clean skin for a long time with biologics, and they can live a life free from psoriasis if they receive prompt treatment and manage well.

―Precautions for treatment and management of psoriasis in the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19) situation… .

It is important for psoriasis patients to maintain cleanliness just like the general public and to follow daily preventive measures such as social distancing and wearing a mask. Vaccination is also recommended to administer the COVID-19 vaccine according to the guidelines of dermatologists and health institutions, unless there are special contraindications or allergies to vaccine components.

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So far, it has not been clearly confirmed how COVID-19 affects the treatment of psoriasis patients. Patients who are not infected with COVID-19 are recommended to continue treatment with existing psoriasis biologics or oral preparations. However, through the exchange of opinions between the prescriber and the patient, the potential benefits of treatment, the activity of the disease and response to previous treatments, and the underlying factors of the patient that may have a negative impact on the COVID-19 infection or prognosis should be considered.

―Future activities plans and visions of the Society are… .

The Korean Society for Psoriasis plans to make efforts in various fields such as research, treatment, and education to improve the domestic psoriasis treatment environment. In terms of research, we plan to support the creation of a more customized domestic psoriasis treatment environment by dataizing Korean psoriasis cases. In terms of treatment, we try to prepare treatment recommendations that can be helpful for practical treatment. Through this, the ultimate goal is to raise the level of psoriasis treatment to the next level.

―Finally, if there is anything you would like to say to psoriasis patients… .

As psoriasis is a chronic disease like high blood pressure or diabetes, it is important to constantly treat and manage it. Psoriasis is a field with remarkable advances in treatment, and new, more effective drugs continue to emerge. Of course, due to the nature of psoriasis, a cure is still difficult. However, if you manage your stress and take care of your food, you can enjoy your daily life with clean skin.

Reporter Eun-shim Hong [email protected]

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