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The Underrepresentation of Patient Images in Psoriasis Treatment Trials

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Anthony Raphael
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The Underrepresentation of Patient Images in Psoriasis Treatment Trials

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Psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that accelerates the life cycle of skin cells, is a pressing public health concern. On this front, new therapies, including biological agents, are being explored for the treatment of psoriasis. However, a recent systematic review published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment has raised the issue of underrepresentation of patient images in psoriasis treatment trials involving biological agents.

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The Review: A Closer Look

The review, which included data from 152 randomized controlled trials and 62,871 randomly assigned patients, found that a staggering 77.0 percent of these trials did not include any patient image material. Even more concerning, the overall sharing rate for clinical images was a meagre 0.1 percent. The authors of the study hoped that these findings would serve as an invitation for the inclusion of more images in scientific publications, thereby better supporting patient involvement.

Why are Images Important?

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The omission of patient images from clinical trials is not just a statistical anomaly; it has broader implications for the understanding and treatment of psoriasis. Patient images can provide a comprehensive view of the disease's progression and its response to treatment. They can shed light on the visible changes in the skin and make it easier for doctors and patients to understand the effectiveness of the treatment. Therefore, their omission represents a missed opportunity in the field of psoriasis research.

Progress in Psoriasis Treatment

Despite the underrepresentation of patient images, progress is being made in the treatment of psoriasis. New therapies and biologics, such as IL 12/23 or IL 23 inhibitors, have shown potential in lowering the risk of psoriatic inflammatory arthritis. Moreover, the delayed FDA approval of UCB's Bimekizumab hints at the potential of biologics in preventing the development of PsA in patients with psoriasis.

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Alternative Approaches: The Si Cao Formula (SCF)

Chinese herbal medicine is also being explored for its potential in psoriasis treatment. The Si Cao Formula (SCF), for instance, has been studied for its effectiveness in treating psoriasis. A pilot clinical investigation and animal validation found that SCF could ameliorate skin lesions in psoriasis patients and reduce the recurrence rate. Additionally, LC-MS identified 41 active constituents of SCF, and animal experiments showed that SCF ameliorates the skin lesions of psoriasis-like mice models and suppresses epidermal hyperkeratosis and angiogenesis.

The Way Forward

Psoriasis is more than an aesthetic concern; it's a disease that significantly impacts a patient's quality of life. As researchers continue to explore new biological agents and alternative therapies, it's crucial to include patient images in clinical trials. These images can provide valuable insights into the disease's progression and the effectiveness of treatments. By doing so, we can ensure a more holistic approach to psoriasis treatment, one that truly supports patient involvement.

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