Dermatologists’ attitude towards psoriasis treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic introduced new challenges in several dimensions in healthcare services. Herein, we describe the real-life strategies and therapeutic options adopted by dermatologists regarding their patients with psoriasis being treated with or with an indication for systemic therapy during the first COVID-19 lockdown period in Portugal.
Methods: The study involves a web-based survey on the clinical management of systemic therapy for psoriasis during the COVID-19 pandemic administered to Portuguese dermatologists. The survey consisted of 55 questions (4 openended questions; 51 closed-ended questions), grouped into 6 sections.
Results: A total of 60 dermatologists voluntarily participated in this survey. Nearly 63% of the participants opted for suspending biologics during the COVID-19 lockdown period and 23.3% increased the time between drug administrations. Eighty percent of the participants agreed that biologics did not change the probability of acquiring COVID-19 and 58.4% believed that these drugs decreased or did not change the severity of the disease. Approximately one-third of the participants opted not to prescribe a biological agent in patients despite clinical indication over the duration of the pandemic. Nearly 25% of the participants opted for suspending traditional immunosuppressant administration. Virtual appointments were an option for 93.3% of the participants.
Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the management of patients with psoriasis being treated with or with an indication for systemic therapy. Some of the decisions made during the first lockdown period were contrary to what we know today. These decisions might have had a significant impact on patients’ quality of life and on future therapeutic success. An adequate interpretation and analysis of the available data will be extremely important to an insightful adaptation of the clinical practice in future confinement or restrictive scenarios.