Psoriasis patients could be at higher risk for liver disease.
Compared to controls, patients with psoriasis (PsO) are at higher risk for serious liver disease than patients with rheumatoid arthritis – two autoimmune diseases often treated with similar drugs that can cause liver damage, reports a study this week in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study is the first population-based study to simultaneously address the risk for liver disease in patients with these inflammatory diseases and psoriatic arthritis (PsA), in a large population of more than 197,000 PsO patients, 12,000 PsA patients, 54,000 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, and 1.2 million matched controls.
Independent of risk factors commonly seen in liver disease, such as alcohol use and diabetes, the study found that patients with psoriatic skin or joint disease, particularly patients with more severe skin psoriasis, had an elevated risk for serious liver disease. Patients with psoriasis taking a systemic therapy drug like methotrexate (under brand names like Trexall, Rasuvo, and Otrexup PF), had the highest risk, particularly for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cirrhosis, while RA patients taking the similar drugs had the lowest liver disease risk.
The study suggests systemic inflammation – which is present in all three diseases—may play a significant role in development of liver disease, particularly in those with psoriasis. At the same time, certain medications use to treat these diseases also can cause liver toxicity. The authors note that future research should delve into whether adequate control of inflammation reduces liver disease risk.
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