Patterns of Vitamin D Analog Use for the Treatment of Psoriasis
August 2013 | Volume 12 | Issue 8 | Original Article | 906 | Copyright © August 2013
Christine S. Ahn BA,a Farah Awadalla MD,e Karen E. Huang MS,a Brad Yentzer MD,a
Tushar S. Dabade MD,a,d and Steven R. Feldman MD PhDa,b,c
aWake Forest School of Medicine, Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Winston-Salem, NC
bWake Forest School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, Winston-Salem, NC
cWake Forest School of Medicine, Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC
dTufts Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Boston, MA
eDermSurgery Associates, Houston, TX
OBJECTIVE: To determine the prescription patterns of topical corticosteroids and vitamin D analogs for the treatment of psoriasis in the United States and how their use has changed over time.
METHODS: Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) from 1994 to 2010 were queried for visits linked with a psoriasis diagnosis. Prescriptions for topical corticosteroids and vitamin D analogs were described. Vitamin D analogs usage was compared across physician specialties. For each sampled visit reported in the NAMCS, visits meeting our inclusion criteria that also mentioned the following medications were identified: topical calcipotriene, topical calcipotriene/betamethasone or any topical corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of psoriasis.
RESULTS: There were an estimated 2.05 million psoriasis visits per year over the 1994-2010 interval. Dermatologists were responsible for 67% of these encounters followed by family practice (14%) and internal medicine (11%). Dermatologists prescribed a vitamin D product at 15% of psoriasis visits, followed by family physicians at 12%, and internists at 5%. Dermatologists prescribed calcipotriene, calcipotriene/betamethasone, and topical corticosteroids in 15%, 4% and 59% of psoriasis visits, respectively. Over time, there was no significant change in the use of topical steroids or vitamin D products by physicians.This study is limited by the inability to determine the severity of psoriasis from the data collected, and the lack of data on the length of treatment with different medications.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite their demonstrated efficacy and safer side effect profile, vitamin D analogs are used less often than topical corticosteroids for the treatment of psoriasis. These findings suggest that vitamin D products may not be utilized to their fullest potential as effective topical therapy or adjuncts to therapy for localized plaque psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2013;12(8):906-910.