Prevalence of Psoriasis Extremely Low in the Insured US Adult Population

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Although prevalence of psoriasis is known to be low in commercially insured populations, a new study reveals exactly how low it is.

Prevalence of psoriasis in commercially insured US adults is 0.5% to 0.7%, which is lower than previously published research reports, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Because psoriasis prevalence rates have been reported to be between 0.5% and 3.2% in various data sources, researchers sought to study psoriasis prevalence rates based on insurance claims-related data.

Researchers used the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Databases, which include beneficiaries of US employer-based commercial insurance, to identify claims of adults and their dependents with psoriasis between 2011 and 2017. Psoriasis claims were categorized into 2 groups: ≥1 or ≥2 inpatient or outpatient claims. Annual prevalence was calculated for each year, stratified according to sex and age, and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using the Wald method.

In 2011, 0.529% (95% CI, 0.526%-0.531%) of beneficiaries had at least 1 claim for psoriasis. In 2017, the prevalence was 0.718% (95% CI, 0.714%-0.721%). Women (51.7%-53%) had higher prevalence than men. Prevalence was lowest among those ≤17 years old, who comprised 4.8% to 6.3% of the population with psoriasis. Prevalence was higher in the 18- to 34-year (4.4%-18.5%) and the 45- to 54-year (27.4%-28.1%) age groups, reflecting a bimodal distribution of onset. When using 2 claims as the definition, psoriasis prevalence fell to 0.220% (95% CI, 0.219%-0.222%) and 0.329% (95% CI, 0.326%-0.331%), respectively, in these age groups. Of enrollees with a psoriasis claim, 61% had at least a single claim from dermatology, and a substantial number had claims from internal and family medicine physicians and rheumatologists.

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One limitation of this study was that uninsured individuals, publicly insured individuals, and individuals with mild disease who may not seek care were not included.

Researchers concluded that in a commercially insured US population <65 years old, the prevalence of psoriasis ranges from 0.5% to 0.7%, which is lower than indicated in many previously published reports.


One author declares affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please refer to reference for a complete list of authors’ disclosures.

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Cohen JM, Wong PW, Cohen DE, Kim RH. Psoriasis prevalence in the United States in a commercial insurance claims database: 2011-2017 [published online June 6, 2019]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2019.05.092