Psoriasis Linked to Depression: Can Adalimumab Help?

Psoriasis treatment may improve more than just skin issues.

Psoriasis treatment may improve more than just skin issues.

Patients with psoriasis no longer have to suffer the effects of simultaneous depression, according to a new study. Treating depression in psoriasis patients with the drug adalimumab caused a significant decrease in their self-reported rate of depression.

The study, performed in Saudi Arabia, assessed the rate and severity of depression in patients with psoriasis. The study included 45 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis who were evaluated for 6 months and treated with adalimumab.

Requirements for the patients to be involved in the study included being 18 years of age or older; having moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis; having a degree of depression as measured by Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZDS) of 50 points or higher; and having no contraindications or objections to receiving adalimumab treatment. Patients on anti-depressant therapy for a period of less than 6 months at the time of inclusion were excluded from the study.

Patients received the recommended dose of adalimumab for 6 months at a rate of 40 mg every 2 weeks. Changes in the dose were left to the decision of the treating physician.

At the end of the 6-month period, patients were reported having a 75% improvement in their Psoriasis Area and Severity Index scores and 97.8% of those involved in the study achieved a meaningful improvement in their ZDS score. By the end of the study, 9% of patients reported having mild depression, while 92% showed no signs of depression.

“There was a significant correlation between reduction in depression symptoms and the improvement in psoriasis severity, age at the onset of disease was the only other factor that is correlated with improvement in depression,” the study authors wrote. “The high prevalence of depression among patients included in this study suggests that screening for depression symptoms should be incorporated into dermatology practice as a part of the management of psoriasis.”

With the link between psoriasis and depression made abundantly clear by this and other similar studies, physicians should consider regular screenings for depression in patients with psoriasis and other afflictions of the skin. The symptoms of depression may be able to be treated with adalimumab so patients with psoriasis can live better, healthier lives.