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31-12-2009 | Psoriasis | Article

Smoking and alcohol intake linked to severe psoriasis


Free abstract

MedWire News: Smoking and alcohol intake are independently associated with severe forms of psoriasis, confirm researchers.

They found that smoking correlated with the severity of psoriasis in both men and women, while alcohol intake correlated with disease severity in women.

“It is of clinical importance to consider these results when treating severely affected patients as some treatment options are negatively affected by alcohol abuse,” say Sascha Gerdes and colleagues from University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany.

The researchers evaluated smoking and alcohol intake in 12,303 patients from Germany hospitalized with severe psoriasis. Of these, 55.9% were men and most (84.2%) were suffering from chronic plaque-type psoriasis. The mean Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score was 26.

In all, 43.3% of psoriasis patients – 46.6% of men and 39.2% of women – were active smokers.

Compared with a control group of 6963 individuals from the general population of Germany, psoriasis patients were 2.08 times more likely to be active smokers.

The study findings showed that the likelihood of smoking in psoriasis patients increased with increasing disease severity in both genders, with 34.7% of men and 31.1% of women with mild psoriasis (PASI<10) actively smoking, compared with 45.5% and 39.8% of men and women with severe psoriasis (PASI>15), respectively.

With regard to alcohol intake, 14.9% of psoriasis patients – 22.3% of men and 5.5% of women – were found to be excessive drinkers, defined as more than one drink a day.

Psoriasis patients were 3.10 times more likely to be excessive drinkers than the control group.

Alcohol intake tended to increase with the severity of psoriasis in women, but not men. None of the women with mild psoriasis had an excessive alcohol intake, compared with 7.3% of women with severe psoriasis. This association was not demonstrated in men.

The researchers conclude in the journal Dermatology that “the cessation of smoking or drinking may improve the disease and support the patient’s overall outcome.”

They add: “Therefore, dermatologists should make an effort to convince patients to stop smoking and control their alcohol consumption.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lucy Piper

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