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Discordance Between Patient Reported Motivations to Seek Treatment for Psoriasis Compared to Television Advertisements

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Golbari NM, Porter ML, Kimball AB. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018 Aug 1;17(8):886-887.


INTRODUCTION: Despite a growing arsenal of therapies for psoriasis and, consequently, an increasing number of advertisements for these treatments, many psoriasis patients still remain untreated. While the primary treatment seeking motivations for these patients have been identified, it is unknown if the commercials for the medications designed to encourage patient engagement in treatment are relevant to these concerns.

METHODS: Online databases for national television advertisements were searched for psoriasis treatment commercials broadcast between 2000 and 2018. Each advertisement video was viewed 3 times and separately assessed for the content displayed or information conveyed in images, text, and voice-over speech. Additionally, references to known patient motivations for seeking treatment, including concerns about skin symptoms or appearance (embarrassment, scaling/flaking, pain, discomfort, itch, etc.) were recorded.

RESULTS: A total of 20 commercials were assessed. Of those, 100% emphasized "clear skin" as the result of the treatment that was being marketed. Bothersome skin symptoms, however, were less frequently displayed; scaling/flaking, pain/discomfort, and itch were present in 15%, 5%, and 0% of commercials, respectively. Similarly, text or images displaying sadness, shame or covering of skin were in 40%, 45% and 30% the advertisements, respectively. None (0%) of the commercials evaluated displayed images of people scratching or verbally addressed skin itching as a bothersome symptom of psoriasis.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: While the advertisements assessed in this study did exhibit patient concerns regarding skin appearance, skin symptoms including skin itching, flaking, pain and discomfort were not equally addressed. As these are known factors that motivate psoriasis patients to actively engage in treatment, targeted ads that better demonstrate these concerns may help prompt under-treated patients to seek care.