Last updated June 22
The World Health Organization formally declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 12th March 2020. To date there has not been specific guidance from the WHO directed to specific populations including people living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis on how best to respond to COVID-19, given the rapid progression of the disease and available evidence.
As the pandemic evolves, evidence on treatment and care is constantly being updated. This includes advice given to clinicians who care for people living with psoriasis. The International Psoriasis Council has recently provided similar guidance to clinicians in accordance with established treatment guidelines (1–3).
IFPA understands that our members associations, patient experts and psoriasis advocates may have specific concerns on treatment. The current available advice takes special consideration for people living with Pso/PsA on biologics who are confirmed to have COVID-19. Individual risk can vary and should be assessed by your health care provider. Factors include which systemic medications you are taking, whether you are taking more than one of these medications, and whether you are living with co-morbidities or other medical issues. The ultimate decision on treatment ought to be made in discussion with your dermatologist or psoriasis healthcare provider.
Further, we are also aware that patients may be under the care of more than one medical specialist and hence recognize that this psoriasis care team is best suited to address specific individual concerns, guided by their local health authorities and societies.
While we may not be able to make specific recommendations, we advise that a patient-centric approach and special consideration is taken with reference to:
- Persons who are on biologic treatment and confirmed to have COVID-19. (1-5).
- Persons living with severe psoriatic disease and/or comorbidities.
- Individuals who are on other treatment therapies such as immunosuppressants, anti-inflammatory drugs or in need of these therapies. (1–4)
- All people living with Pso/PsA who may have specific situations or concerns and in need of care.
* We strongly suggest that any decision made on stopping treatment, initiating or continuing treatment be made with your psoriasis care team (dermatologist, rheumatologist and other specialists).
Collecting better information
PsoProtect is an international registry for health care providers to report outcomes of COVID-19 in individuals with psoriasis. The registry is an international effort to collect de-identified data from health care professionals caring for patients with psoriasis and COVID-19. Care providers are encouraged to report cases of COVID-19 in psoriasis on the PsoProtect website using the PsoProtect case report form. The form takes 5 minutes to complete, and the information collected will inform clinicians so that they may better assess risk and recommend treatment not only for people with psoriasis, but also for other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. We are counting on your participation to find the answers to these critical questions.
PsoProtectMe is the patient-reported component of this project. We are asking everyone with psoriasis, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, to complete the PsoProtectMe survey. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and asks about your symptoms, psoriasis treatments and any underlying health conditions you may have. Participating in PsoProtectMe will help us understand how the pandemic is affecting people with psoriasis. It is a safe and easy way to do a lot of good.
Do your part
To avoid unnecessary risk of overburdening the healthcare system during this time, we recommend that people living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis consult their physician only when necessary, in order to allow them to help other members of the psoriasis community who may require urgent care.
In keeping with the general public health advie, we continue to encourage you to refer to your local health authorities and the WHO (6). Remember to protect yourself using the simple preventative measures:
- HANDS – Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- ELBOW – Cough or sneeze into elbow if you must.
- FACE – Do not touch your face, mouth or eyes.
- SPACE – Keep safe distance more than (one meter) 3ft apart.
- HOME – If you or any of your family members is sick, please stay home if possible. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider as well as you dermatologist via telephone or any other telehealth tool.
Please note: We have set this initial advice in collaboration with the International Psoriasis Council based on the current available evidence for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. At present it is recommended that any adjustment to your treatment should be in discussion with your dermatologist, rheumatologist or general health care provider. IFPA is committed to keep this advice under continuous review as the situation evolves, and as knowledge from the health specialists and researchers is presented.
- American Academy of Dermatology. Managing your practice through the COVID-19 outbreak [Internet]. 2020. Available from: https://www.aad.org/member/practice/managing/coronavirus
- Dermatologists BA of. Dermatology Advice Regarding Self-Isolation and Immunosuppressed Patients: Adults, Pediatrics and Young People [Internet]. 2020. Available from: http://www.bad.org.uk/healthcare-professionals/covid-19/covid-19-immunosuppressed-patients
- Forum ED. Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak [Internet]. 2020. Available from: https://www.edf.one/home.html
- Foundation NP. NPF Medical Board COVID-19 Recommendations for Patients with Psoriatic Disease [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2020 Mar 23]. Available from: https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/coronavirus
- Council IP. IPC -Statement on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak [Internet]. 2020. Available from: https://www.psoriasiscouncil.org/blog/Statement-on-COVID-19-and-Psoriasis.
- World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public [Internet]. 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus (COVID-19). 2020; Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
The information on this page is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that IFPA can not guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any information from external sources. Always refer to the World Health Organization and local healthcare authorities for the most up-to-date information about COVID-19.