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Key studies show distinctive features of pediatric psoriasis


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WAIKOLOA, HAWAII – Guttate psoriasis in children warrants more aggressive monitoring and treatment in an effort to head off more severe disease later, according to Dr. Wynnis L. Tom.

Pediatric psoriasis presenting initially as guttate disease is more likely to progress to severe psoriasis prior to adulthood than if the initial presentation took the form of plaque psoriasis, according to data from a multicenter U.S. study of the clinical manifestations of pediatric psoriasis.

Dr. Wynnis Tom


The cross-sectional study included 181 children aged 5-17 years with plaque psoriasis, and the results highlighted important differences between childhood-onset and adult-onset disease, Dr. Tom said at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

About 40% of cases of pediatric psoriasis that presented initially as guttate psoriasis progressed to chronic disease. That was not a higher proportion than in children whose initial disease was plaque psoriasis, said Dr. Tom of the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital. However, 36% of youths with severe psoriasis had a history of disease onset with guttate morphology compared with 22% of those with mild disease, she said.

The peak severity of psoriasis was defined historically as either mild or severe based upon body surface area involvement and Physician Global Assessment.

Overall, 79% of study participants had a history of scalp psoriasis and 39% had a history of nail involvement. However, these disease expressions were unrelated to psoriasis severity.

Boys were three times more likely than girls to have had nail involvement, but 60% less likely to have a history of scalp involvement. These sex-related differences probably reflect koebnerization, Dr. Tom said.

Approximately 5% of the patients had psoriasis restricted to their face alone. Among those with body involvement, the face was included in nearly half of cases.

Session chair Dr. Lawrence F. Eichenfield praised this study (Pediatr. Dermatol. 2013;30:424-8), on which Dr. Tom was a coauthor, as one of the top articles in the field of pediatric dermatology published within the past year. Although various studies indicate that 27%-45% of all cases of psoriasis begin in childhood, the clinical aspects of pediatric psoriasis haven’t been well characterized until now, said Dr. Eichenfield, professor of clinical pediatrics and medicine and chief of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.

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