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October 29, 2020

Psoriasis medications don't increase risk for severe COVID-19, analysis finds

Illness Psoriasis
Psoriasis COVID-19 risk Hans Braxmeier/Pixabay

The National Psoriasis Foundation has resources to help people living with psoriasis stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People with psoriasis are at no greater risk for severe COVID-19 than the general population, despite taking medications that lower their immune systems.

Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed a global registry of patients with the skin disease. They found that more than 90% of people with psoriasis survived a coronavirus infection.

Various underlying health conditions have been considered risk factors for severe COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Researchers said their findings can reassure psoriasis patients that if they do contract COVID-19, their chances of survival are high. 

Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches of skin that can feel itchy or painful. If inflammation isn't kept in check by medications, it can cover the person's entire body. Severe cases can cause permanent disfigurement.

It also can increase the risk for other serious health conditions like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases – all risk factors for poorer outcomes with COVID-19.

Treatment for psoriasis ranges from topical medications like corticosteroids, retinoids and vitamin D analogues to oral and injectable medications. Narrow ultraviolet B phototherapy, photochemotherapy and biologic drugs are also used for more severe cases.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, included 374 psoriasis patients who had COVID-19 between March and July 2020. More than half of them were taking biologics.

Overall, 93% of the patients fully recovered from COVID-19, with 21% requiring hospitalization. They had a 2% mortality rate.

For more information about living with psoriasis during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation's COVID-19 Resource Center.

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