SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic remains a serious public health concern globally. Since the International Psoriasis Council (IPC) published its COVID-19 statement on March 11, the coronavirus has continued to spread rapidly and is currently a major health hazard in all high, middle and low-income countries. Consequently, the pandemic continues to have a considerable impact on the provision of appropriate care to people with psoriasis.
IPC advises physicians and other healthcare practitioners to take into account the following important issues that relate to the management of psoriasis during the pandemic.
As recognized by the WHO, psoriasis is an important chronic non-communicable disease that requires treatment to prevent long-term health sequelae. Thus the risks, both physical and psychological, of delaying or interrupting treatment need to be strongly considered.
Pending results of robust epidemiological studies, emerging data including from registries such as PsoProtect do not appear to provide supportive evidence for a meaningful adverse effect of psoriasis treatments on the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 or of a poorer outcome to COVID-19.
It remains unknown if psoriasis per se is a risk factor for acquiring SARS-CoV-2 or of having a poorer outcome to COVID-19.
Psoriasis is strongly associated with co-morbidities that have been shown to be important risk factors for adverse COVID-19 outcomes of which the most critical is obesity.
As vaccines are developed and population vaccination schedules planned, the impact of psoriasis therapy, particularly systemic therapy, on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines needs to be considered.
In many countries where health resources are stretched, access to care for patients with psoriasis is more limited than ever. Telemedicine may have an important role to play but needs to be properly evaluated and its limitations understood.
The IPC will continue to provide updates to the global dermatology community as we learn more about the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on psoriasis.
MARCH 11, 2020
The rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious public health concern. It remains unknown to what extent the coronavirus impacts psoriasis and the treatment of psoriasis.
The International Psoriasis Council (IPC) advises physicians to be alert to the potentially harmful effects of COVID-19 infection on patients with psoriasis and counsel all their patients on how to prevent transmission of the virus.
For psoriasis patients diagnosed with COVID-19 disease, the IPC recommends physicians discontinue or postpone use of immunosuppressant medications. This is in accordance with established psoriasis treatment guidelines (for example, the European Dermatology Forum and the American Academy of Dermatology), which state immunosuppressive psoriasis treatments are contraindicated in patients with active infections.
Individuals over the age of 60 years and/or patients with comorbid conditions including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney diseases, and cancer have a higher risk for developing a more serious course of the illness. However, as of now, there is insufficient evidence to determine how COVID-19 will impact psoriasis patients on systemic treatment who are infected with the virus. The benefit-to-risk ratio of any immunosuppressive therapeutic intervention should be carefully weighed in patients with comorbidities on a case-to-case basis.
The IPC will continue to provide updates to the global dermatology community as we learn more about the effects of coronavirus on psoriasis. For the latest information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including prevention and signs and symptoms of the disease, refer to the World Health Organization (WHO) website.