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How do disease perception, treatment features, and dermatologist–patient relationship impact on patients assuming topical treatment? An Italian survey

Authors Burroni AG, Fassino M, Torti A, Visentin E

Received 28 October 2014

Accepted for publication 18 December 2014

Published 16 February 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 9—17


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Robert Howland

Anna Graziella Burroni,1 Mariella Fassino,2 Antonio Torti,3 Elena Visentin4

1IRCCS University Hospital San Martino, IST National Institute for Cancer Research, Genoa, Italy; 2Department of Psychology, Specialization School in Clinical Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 3Dermatology practice, Milan, Italy; 4HTA and Scientific Support, CSD Medical Research Srl, Milan, Italy

Background: Psoriasis largely affects daily activities and social interactions and has a strong impact on patients’ quality of life. Psoriatic patients have different attitudes toward their condition. Topical medications are essential for the treatment of psoriasis, but the majority of patients do not adhere to these therapies.
Objective: The history of treatment success or failure seems to influence patient attitude toward topical therapy. Therefore, it is important to understand the psychological, experiential, and motivational aspects that could be critical for treatment adherence, and to describe the different attitudes toward topical treatment. Furthermore, the physician–patient relationship and the willingness to trust the dermatologist may have a substantial role in encouraging or discouraging patients’ attitudes toward topical therapy.
Methods: A survey was designed to collect aspects that could be relevant to understanding different patient attitudes toward psoriasis and its treatments. A total of 495 self-administered questionnaires compiled by psoriatic patients were analyzed from 20 Italian specialized hospital centers in order to provide a nationwide picture.
Results: Psoriatic patients have different perceptions and experiences in relation to their condition: half of them consider psoriasis as a disease, while the other half consider psoriasis as a disorder or a nuisance. Topical therapy is the most widely used treatment, even though it is not considered the most effective one and often perceived to be cosmetic. The main findings are: 1) inadequate patient education about this disease, 2) lack of information about topical treatment, and 3) lack of results within the expected time frame. Furthermore, physicians need to build a good relationship with psoriatic patients in order to motivate them, to trust in their care, and to adhere to treatment.
Conclusion: This survey adds new and important details about daily life and well-being and the needs of psoriatic patients, providing suggestions for dermatologists to improve patients management.

Keywords: psoriasis, topical therapy, survey, dermatologist

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