The impact of psoriasis on the daily lives of patients should be proactively assessed by healthcare professionals, according to new guidelines from NICE released today.
In its first clinical guideline on the assessment and management of the condition, NICE advises practice nurses and GPs to evaluate the disease’s effects on the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of their patients.
This should be done before patients are referred to specialists and when monitoring how they are responding to treatment.
Psoriasis is a skin condition characterised by red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. It is believed to affect over 1.3 million people in the UK, with the majority of sufferers under the age of 35.
The condition can cause low self-esteem, anxiety, embarrassment and depression, with over a third of psoriasis patients reporting clinically significant anxiety and depression. It can also have a negative effect on social and physical activities, employment and education.
“Whilst there is no cure for psoriasis, treatments are effective and can include topical therapies, phototherapy and systemic medication, depending on the severity and extent of the disease,” said director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE Professor Mark Baker.
“Clinical practice for the treatment of psoriasis is variable across the NHS. This guideline provides clear advice for the NHS on the assessment and management of psoriasis in order to improve comfort and minimise the effects of living with the condition.”