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Summary

Background

In Germany, drugs are to a large extent provided by pharmacies. Thus, investigations in pharmacies permit drug usage studies both on patients receiving prescribable drugs and using self-medication. The current study evaluated the quality of medical care, disease burden and spectrum of treatments for patients with psoriasis in a nationwide network of pharmacies.

Patients and methods

A nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted in 61 pharmacies. Patients with psoriasis vulgaris who came to the pharmacy to obtain antipsoriatic drugs or basic ointments were consecutively recruited, interviewed and asked to complete a standardized questionnaire. The questionnaire focused on socio-demographic characteristics and prior therapies for psoriasis. Furthermore, data on the patient's treatment satisfaction, disease-related burden, and treatment adherence were evaluated. In addition, the proportion and significance of health care providers for psoriasis as well as the number of patients using self-medication were assessed.

Results

The data on 241 patients show a high and long-lasting disease-related burden. A high utilization of resources was found. Dermatologists were the most frequently consulted providers (reported by 77.1 % of patients), followed by general practitioners (10.4 %). 3.5 % of patients were using self-medication. Self-reported adherence with treatment was moderate (71.6 %). Patient satisfaction varied considerably and demonstrated the need for improvement.

Conclusions

Psoriasis is a socio-economically relevant disease. Health care is provided primarily by dermatologists. Surveying patients in a national network of pharmacies is a unique and effective way of collecting relevant “real world” data. Selection biases related to the health care setting are minimized.