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      Scalp psoriasis, clinical presentations and therapeutic management.

      Dermatology (Basel, Switzerland)

      therapy, Administration, Topical, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anti-Inflammatory Agents, therapeutic use, Child, Child, Preschool, Facial Dermatoses, Female, Glucocorticoids, Hand Dermatoses, Health Services, statistics & numerical data, utilization, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Netherlands, epidemiology, Phototherapy, Pruritus, Psoriasis, pathology, Questionnaires, Scalp, Scalp Dermatoses

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          Abstract

          The scalp is a well-known predilection site for psoriasis. Many patients indicate that scalp psoriasis is both psychologically and socially distressing. The aim of the present investigation is to provide epidemiological data on the various manifestations of scalp psoriasis, as well as on its therapeutic management. A questionnaire, targeted on scalp psoriasis, was mailed to patient subscribers of a Dutch journal on psoriasis. In total 1,023 forms were returned and evaluated. Remarkably, a relatively high occurrence of facial psoriasis (25%) and nail psoriasis (40%) was recorded. The dynamics of scalp psoriasis were rather similar to psoriasis at other sites with respect to the total duration of the disease and exacerbations/remissions. In 57% of the patients, psoriasis was psychologically and socially distressing, at least occasionally. Itch and scaling proved to be the leading symptoms, in terms of frequency of occurrence as well as in terms of distress. Therefore, these parameters should be regarded as primary efficacy criteria in the treatment of scalp psoriasis. On average, most patients were seen by the dermatologist 5 times a year. The majority of prescriptions (76%) was given by the dermatologist. The application of topical corticosteroids was by far the most frequent treatment modality. To our surprise, calcipotriol was used by 28% of patients. At the time of investigation calcipotriol was only available as ointment. Tar shampoos were used by 51% of the patients, although the clinical efficacy of such a shampoo has never been demonstrated in a controlled study. A remarkable observation was the lack of instruction on the duration of treatment and the frequency of applications. In fact, 72% of the patients used topical treatments, including topical corticosteroids, for more than 8 weeks, and 42% of the patients used an intermittent schedule of a few applications per week. Based on the present survey, the following profile for an optimal treatment of scalp psoriasis can be constructed: (1) effective applications a few times per week; (2) either a lotion or an emulsion, and (3) safety for long-term use.

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