A recent study published in JAMA Dermatology investigated whether patients with psoriasis are at an increased risk of alcohol-related death.

Psoriasis is a skin disease where skin cells accumulate and form itchy, red, dry patches of skin. It is a common and incurable disease which is thought to be immune-mediated. It has been shown that people with this skin disease die prematurely when compared to individuals without the disease. There is a need for further investigation to determine why psoriasis is linked with increased risk of death.

Previous studies have found that one-third of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis consume excessive amounts of alcohol. There is also a link between increased alcohol intake and the amount of body surface area affected by the disease. This led to a study that was carried out in the United Kingdom and has been published in JAMA Dermatology. This study specifically investigated the risk of dying from alcohol-related causes in people diagnosed with psoriasis in the general population.

The results of this study found that when compared to peers of the same age and sex, individuals with psoriasis have approximately a 60% increased risk of death as a result of alcohol-related causes such as alcoholic liver disease, fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver excluding biliary cirrhosis, and mental and behavioural disorders associated with alcohol misuse.

The authors of this study state that health care practitioners, who are responsible for the care of these patients, should be aware of the psychological issues that these patients face as a result of psoriasis. In addition, regular screening, monitoring, and treatment should be implemented both in primary and secondary care for these patients. The authors recommend the use of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT-C) as a routine screening tool for those with psoriasis. This will identify patients at increased risk of alcohol-related death and thus allow the introduction of treatment, both pharmacological and psychological, which will enable these patients to overcome their harmful alcohol consumption and the stigma experienced as a result of their disease.

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer

Reference: Parisi R et al . (2017). Alcohol-Related Mortality in Patients With Psoriasis A Population-Based Cohort Study. Available: Last accessed 22nd Sept 2017.

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