Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
October 2009, Volume 1 Number 5 , p 283 - 293
Psoriasis affects approximately 2% of the population in the United States. Because psoriasis is an inflammatory disease with both skin and joint manifestations, dermatology healthcare providers are becoming increasingly aware of the substantial incidence of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in psoriasis. The purpose of this review is to provide dermatology nurse practitioners with the tools needed to accurately diagnose PsA and adequately manage the broad diversity of patients with PsA. We review the epidemiology, etiology, clinical characteristics, physical examination, and differential diagnosis of PsA. The efficacy and safety of various treatment options for patients with PsA are also reviewed and discussed, with a special emphasis on tumor necrosis factor antagonists. Biologic medications offer the potential for greatly improved efficacy compared with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. Patients with PsA may be spared pain, disability, and joint damage and instead enjoy a greater quality of life through early intervention and effective management of psoriatic disease.