Arcutis Biotherapeutics finds psoriasis isn't just skin deep, with Harris Poll also pointing to a gap in provider communication

Arcutis Biotherapeutics finds psoriasis is more than just skin deep. The stigma of a skin condition can be hard for patients to deal with, but a new survey from the biotech has found that the disease can also affect their mental health.

The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll, found 3 in 4 (75%) people with psoriasis in intertriginous areas, or skin folds, reported a negative impact on their emotional well-being.

The "Skin Insights: Uncovering Psoriasis Survey" was taken by slightly more than 500 adults in the U.S. at the end of last year and was set up to track psoriasis's emotional impact.

Nearly all the respondents said their condition “caused sexual distress and anxiety,” with 81% reporting wanting topical treatment options “that are more effective, are not steroids and are simpler to use,” according to the survey.

“The results from this survey illuminate the ongoing difficulties individuals with psoriasis are experiencing with their disease as well as with their topical treatments,” said Frank Watanabe, president and CEO of Arcutis, which has a psoriasis cream up for FDA approval in the next few months.

“The insights for individuals with intertriginous psoriasis in particular are critical to increasing understanding of the significant negative impact the disease can have on emotional well-being and the factors that may significantly contribute to overall disease burden for those living with psoriasis.”

Nearly half of those with psoriasis in intertriginous areas (45%) reported a strong or very strong negative impact on sexual distress/anxiety, with more than a third reporting a negative impact on intimate relationships (39%) and sexual function (37%).

Arcutis is awaiting an FDA decision on roflumilast, a topical formulation of the PDE4 inhibitor found in AstraZeneca’s chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment Daliresp. The biotech is gunning for a plaque psoriasis label, and the decision date is set for July 29.

Should roflumilast gain approval, it will compete with Amgen’s blockbuster Otezla, the first pill approved for plaque psoriasis. It is hoping to differentiate itself from topical steroids and as an easier method of administration than taking a pill.

There are a lot of topical treatments already on the market for most psoriasis patients, but Arcutis said they “often come with compromises between efficacy, tolerability and long-term use.”

With that in mind, the biotech created roflumilast cream for “chronic use anywhere on the body including the face and sensitive intertriginous areas.”

Ahead of its hoped-for approval, Arcutis is clearly trying to get in on the ground floor for its marketing push with the survey to try and better understand the market ahead.

For its future sales targets, the most interesting element to come out of the report was that 64% of individuals with intertriginous psoriasis do not show their healthcare provider the affected intertriginous areas of their body, “suggesting a need for more dialogue between patients and their healthcare providers about the occurrence of psoriasis in intertriginous areas and treatment options.”

The biotech would want as much dialogue as possible between patients and their doctors, as this would likely boost the chances of prescription.