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Polypharmacy Increased in Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is plagued by obesity, depression and increased comorbidities; now it appears that polypharmacy adds to the burden of managing PsA.

A study of 11,984 PsA patients in the German BARMER health insurance database from 2021 compared medicines and comorbidities with sex-matched and age-matched controls without inflammatory arthritis. Polypharmacy was defined as ≥5 concomitant drugs.

Compared to controls, PsA patients were prescribed significantly more medications compared to controls; especially for these drug classes:

  • Musculoskeletal (81% vs 30%)
  • Immunomodulatory (56% vs 2.6%)
  • Cardiovascular (62% vs 48%)
  • Alimentary tract/metabolic (57% vs 31%)
  • Nervous system (50% vs 31%)

Polypharmacy was significantly higher in PsA (49%) compared with controls (17%), more so in women (52%) than men (45%) and increased with age and comorbidities.

Polypharmacy equally affects women and men with PsA.  This study did not examine the Adverse drug reaction risk or cost of therapy. 


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The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject