Did you know, an estimated 19,000 Australians are living with severe chronic plaque psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory, immune-mediated skin disease, whereby the immune system reacts abnormally to certain environmental conditions. An over-active immune system causes skin cells to rapidly multiply, too quickly for the skin to shed, resulting in raised, red, scaly patches which can often become itchy and painful. While psoriasis can affect the whole body, it commonly appears on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.
The condition is not only associated with increased risk of many health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cardiovascular (heart) disease, metabolic syndrome and obesity, but can also pose a significant psychological burden on those affected, and can have devastating impacts on social interactions, professional and personal relationships and quality of life.
Although there is currently no cure for psoriasis, there are many treatment options that aim to reduce the symptoms. For minor symptoms, those affected can be treated with topical treatment applied directly to the skin including moisturisers, steroid creams, and Vitamin D. For moderate-to-severe psoriasis, small-molecule systemic therapies and phototherapy may be added. However, these therapies may not prove effective for all people living with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Newer forms of therapy, known as biologics, are available in Australia for those who do not respond well to other treatments.
Early biologics broadly targeted the immune system, however over time, an improved understanding of psoriasis has led to the development of more targeted biologics, such as IL-23 inhibitors.
IL-23 is a regulatory protein that is part of the immune pathway that acts abnormally in psoriasis. Levels of IL-23 are elevated in skin affected by psoriasis, leading to the over-production of other substances that cause inflammation and rapid skin growth.
The IL-23 inhibitors neutralise the effects caused by the elevation of IL-23, turning off the excessive production of other inflammatory substances, thereby reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
Despite the level of treatments available, various dermatologists have spoken of an unrecognised disease burden, and lack of GP and consumer awareness which has hindered access to treatment for those affected.
VIVA! has extensive experience in the dermatology space, including many years of partnering with the Australasian College of Dermatologists, Sun Pharma and GenesisCare on projects ranging from psoriasis and hyperhidrosis, to skin cancer.
Through these projects we have a thorough understanding of the significant, and often unrecognised burden of many dermatological conditions, and the critical importance of patients having access to accurate and timely diagnoses, and a range of effective treatment options.
For more information on our dermatology (or other) experience, please contact us here.