What are the possible complications of psoriasis?

Updated: Mar 17, 2021
  • Author: Jacquiline Habashy, DO, MSc; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Complications of psoriasis may include the following:

  • Secondary infections

  • Possible increased risk of lymphoma

  • Possible increased risk of cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease

  • Possibly inflammatory bowel disease [35]

Even after plaques have cleared, there may be a longstanding or permanent dyschromia. Arthritis, if not controlled, may be mutilating and crippling. Arthritic changes cannot be reversed; therefore, initiation of treatment is imperative to slow, or even halt, progression of disease. It is suggested that psoriatic patients have a higher incidence of cancer, especially lymphoma, but how much of this increased risk can be ascribed to the psoriasis and how much to the medications used for psoriasis is less certain. Psoriatic patients have a higher incidence of depression and anxiety, and, while these conditions usually improve with successful treatment, it is not guaranteed. Many other potential complications are directly related to the treatment, such as a higher incidence of skin cancer in patients treated with phototherapy and a higher incidence of infections, mild and serious, in patients on immune-suppressing medications.

Meta-analyses of cohort and case control studies of predominantly white participants reported in 2018 have shown a statistically significant association between psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis). [36] However, a 2011 study of an Asian population showed a negative association between psoriasis and Crohn disease. [37]

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