A substantial percentage of the 7 million Americans with psoriasis experience fatigue as an additional unwelcome bother, along with the better known symptoms of dry, scaly, painful, and itchy patches of skin. Typical locations for psoriasis include the joints, face, neck, trunk, arms, hands, feet, and scalp.
There are a variety of medications that a prescriber might select to treat psoriasis, which include topicals, orals, and biologics. Interestingly, when biologic medications are the right match for a patient, it turns out that an added benefit might just be a bit more energy.
When several prior trials were grouped together for re-analysis, researchers were able to take a look specifically at the symptom of fatigue in more than 6,000 psoriasis patients treated with one of nine different medications, which included:
These clinical trials each included a sub-set of patients on placebo pills. It was determined that – compared to the placebos – the patients who took biologic medications experienced significant improvements in their fatigue symptoms. This is a perk that does not happen from the use of conventional drugs. Biologic medications are also used for rheumatoid arthritis and prior research with that disease has found a comparable energy boost from biologics in those with rheumatoid arthritis.
The current thinking is that biologics ease fatigue in those with autoimmune diseases by lessening pain levels, improving depression symptoms, reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines that otherwise impact the brain, and through a general health improvement that contributes to better energy levels. As prescribers consider which medications are appropriate for individual patients, it’s interesting to add fatigue relief into the decision matrix.
Skoie IM, Dalen I, Omdal R. Effect of biological treatment on fatigue in psoriasis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Derm 2019 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-019-00434-w