Increased overall drug utilization in patients with psoriasis: a case-control study based on Dutch general practitioner data

E. A. Dowlatshahi, L. M. Hollestein, R. M. Herings, T. Nijsten, M. Wakkee

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BACKGROUND: Medication use in patients with psoriasis has been studied mostly in the context of psoriasis comorbidities. OBJECTIVES: To investigate detailed drug utilization in patients with psoriasis compared with controls in a population-based sample. METHODS: This was a case-control study based on drug prescriptions derived from a Dutch general practitioner database where patients with psoriasis and controls without psoriasis were matched 1 : 1 for age, sex, general practitioner and duration of follow-up, between 2002 and 2012. We calculated Mantel-Haenszel odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all therapeutic groups and chemical substances. RESULTS: In total 17 627 patients with psoriasis and 17 627 controls were followed for > 4 years. Overall 20% of patients with psoriasis received no psoriasis treatment and 8% had moderate-to-severe disease. During the entire follow-up a mean of nine unique drugs were prescribed in patients with psoriasis; this was significantly higher than in controls (mean of seven). Drug use did not peak around the date of diagnosis for psoriasis, but remained constant over time. All of the most commonly prescribed therapeutic groups were significantly more often prescribed in patients with psoriasis than in controls. These included drugs associated with psoriasis symptoms and treatment (OR 2.17, 95% CI 2.07-2.28 and OR 22, 95% CI 21-25, respectively), drugs related to psoriasis comorbidities (1.46, 95% CI 1.39-1.53) and a proportion of drugs that were a priori not expected to be increased in patients with psoriasis, such as nasal preparations and laxatives. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with psoriasis received more prescriptions for all drugs, regardless of associated comorbidities. This overall increased use of drugs suggests an increased healthcare utilization in patients with psoriasis identified in routine databases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-642
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Case-Control Studies Chronic Disease Dermatologic Agents/*therapeutic use Drug Utilization/statistics & numerical data Female General Practice/statistics & numerical data Humans Male Middle Aged Netherlands/epidemiology Psoriasis/*drug therapy/epidemiology

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