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Optimal management of nail disease in patients with psoriasis

Authors Piraccini BM, Starace M

Received 4 October 2014

Accepted for publication 25 November 2014

Published 9 January 2015 Volume 2015:5 Pages 25—33

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PTT.S55338

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Uwe Wollina


Bianca Maria Piraccini, Michela Starace

Division of Dermatology, Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

Abstract: Psoriasis is a common skin disease, with nail involvement in approximately 80% of patients. Nail psoriasis is often associated with psoriatic arthropathy. Involvement of the nails does not always have relationship with the type, gravity, extension, or duration of skin psoriasis. Nail psoriasis can occur at any age and all parts of the nails and the surrounding structures can be affected. Two clinical patterns of nail manifestations have been seen due to psoriasis: nail matrix involvement or nail bed involvement. In the first case, irregular and deep pitting, red spots of the lunula, crumbling, and leukonychia are seen; in the second case, salmon patches, onycholysis with erythematous border, subungual hyperkeratosis, and splinter hemorrhages are observed. These clinical features are more visible in fingernails than in toenails, where nail abnormalities are not diagnostic and are usually clinically indistinguishable from other conditions, especially onychomycosis. Nail psoriasis causes, above all, psychosocial and aesthetic problems, but many patients often complain about functional damage. Diagnosis of nail psoriasis is clinical and histopathology is necessary only in selected cases. Nail psoriasis has an unpredictable course but, in most cases, the disease is chronic and complete remissions are uncommon. Sun exposure does not usually improve and may even worsen nail psoriasis. There are no curative treatments. Treatment of nail psoriasis includes different types of medications, from topical therapy to systemic therapy, according to the severity and extension of the disease. Moreover, we should not underestimate the use of biological agents and new therapy with lasers or iontophoresis. This review offers an investigation of the different treatment options for nail psoriasis and the optimal management of nail disease in patients with psoriasis.

Keywords: biologics, nail psoriasis, topical therapy, systemic therapy

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