4 Reasons Why People Don’t Treat Their Psoriasis
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8 million people in the US have psoriasis and on average 22%-37% of those of us living with the disease are not treating their condition.1 A study conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation found 8 reasons why people living with psoriasis don’t treat it. Can you relate? What is the down side to not treating your disease?

People are scared of the adverse effects of drugs

Today, there are more new and effective treatments on the market than there was 20 years ago. Most recently several biologics have come on the market for psoriasis sufferers, but many people fear the safety of these drugs. Let’s be real, although these drugs have been tested in clinical trials, and approved by the FDA, they haven’t been around long. Most biologics have only been around for less than 20 years, so people are afraid of the residual effects of these drugs 30 years from now. I use to be one of those people who were afraid, but my life with psoriasis was at times unbearable. At that time, I was more worried about the longevity of life opposed to the quality of life, and a quality life I was not living. Therefore I decided to give biologics a try, I haven’t regretted my decision yet, but only time will tell. If you have fears, be sure to share these thoughts with your doctor.

The disease isn’t that serious

The American Academy of Dermatology reports 80% of people living with this condition have a mild to moderate amount of the disease, which means 3%-10% of the body is affected.2 The bottom line is some people don’t feel the need to treat.

In my option there are a few factors to consider here including:

  • Location: If the psoriasis is mild in an area of the body that’s easy to hide some may not feel the need to treat.
  • Not worth the risk:  Some feel their psoriasis severity is not bad enough to deal with the potential risk of the drug.
  • Mental capacity: Some can handle the stares and stigma better than others thus they can live with the appearance of the disease.

The reality is the disease is very serious. A simple flare today could go from mild to severe depending on stress and environmental factors. It’s important to treat your disease in some way even if it’s with over-the-counter options or natural remedies.

Too expensive or no insurance

Prescription drugs for psoriasis can be costly especially for those without insurance. Topical treatments can cost a couple of thousands each year and biologics can cost upwards of $25,000, who can really afford that? Even with insurance, some insurance companies refuse to cover the more expensive drugs or you have to jump through many hoops in order to receive the treatment you need. Prior to the healthcare reform psoriasis was considered a pre-existing condition, therefore, insurance companies could deny or place those of us with the condition on a waiting period before providing payouts for treatment. For now, the law is changed and insurance companies can no longer refuse coverage, but who knows how healthcare will be reformed in the next couple of years. If you don’t have insurance or can’t afford your medicine there are patient programs which will help individuals pay for certain meds. The National Psoriasis Foundation also has patient navigation program which can help people like you find doctors, treatments, and funds for meds.

Failed treatments

Some don’t treat simply because they are tired of being disappointed and have grown hopeless. I’ve had psoriasis for over 20 years, and it took me 18 years to find an effective treatment. There was a period where I grew tired of going to different doctors being told the same thing, and ending up with the same disappointing results. I figured that psoriasis for the rest of my life was my fate, thus at times, I stopped searching for treatments.

Has there ever been a period where you didn’t treat your psoriasis, what were the reasons? Let us know in the comments or share your story.

view references
  1. Armstrong AW, Robertson AD, Wu J, Schupp C, Lebwohl MG. Undertreatment, Treatment Trends, and Treatment Dissatisfaction Among Patients With Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis in the United StatesFindings From the National Psoriasis Foundation Surveys, 2003-2011. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(10):1180-1185. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.5264
  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Stats and Facts: Psoriasis https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/psoriasis
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