Recent Survey Reveals Burden of Rosacea

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The survey offers insights into the emotional, psychological, and societal impact of the condition. 

 

Findings from a recent global survey highlight the need for dermatologists and doctors to proactively open a dialogue with patients about the impact of rosacea and ways in which they can work together to achieve “clear” (Investigator’s Global Assessment [IGA] 0) skin, according to a report published online on the British Medical Journal website.1 

doctor with patient

The Condition

Rosacea affects more than 40 million people worldwide and onset is most common in people aged between 30 and 50 years.2 Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin disease that presents variable clinical characteristics, of which the most common are flushing, permanent erythema, and inflammatory lesions. It mainly affects the central areas of the face, such as the cheeks and nose. 

The disease can affect both adult men and women. Additionally, symptoms such as stinging, burning, and increased sensitivity of the skin are common. The eyes are often affected, and might present as red, dry, or itchy. It is a visible and relapsing condition, meaning that patients experience periods of flare-ups, and every individual’s experience is different, making it a complex disease to treat.

Gauging the Impact

The study, which was developed by Kantar Health as a self-administered online survey and supported by Galderma, offers clues to the psychosocial burden of the disease. According to the findings, there is a significant disease-related impact on patients’ quality of life, including patient distress, depression, and loss of productivity at work. Rosacea can have a high impact at any severity, with 82% of surveyed participants noting that they feel that their rosacea is not totally controlled and 86% substantially modifying their behavior and daily lives to avoid triggering flare-ups.1 

“This research alerts us to the reality that people with rosacea can feel like they are stuck in an unwinnable situation—judged on their appearance, but also worried they will be blamed or viewed as superficial if they seek help. We need to open the discussion surrounding the burden of rosacea and ensure people are comfortable talking about the impacts this illness can have on their lives,” said Jerry Tan, MD, adjunct professor, Western University, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and one of the study authors.

“We can help make a difference by opening the conversation with patients on the impact of rosacea to identify the more vulnerable ‘high burden’ individuals and implement a tailor-made treatment approach,” he said.

The Survey Findings

The survey asked 710 participants diagnosed with rosacea and 554 dermatologists and general practitioners (GPs) in 6 different countries (France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States) questions about their experience of living with or treating patients who are living with rosacea. Participants were recruited using an online panel. To maximize the sample size no quota was set up. Limitations of the study include that the sample is not representative of the rosacea population of each country. In addition, the results of this study could be affected by selection bias and cannot be inferred to the whole rosacea population. 

The success of rosacea treatment is usually defined as a score of 1 (“almost clear”) or 0 (“clear”) on the 5-point IGA scale. Several studies have shown that patients who achieve “clear” (IGA 0), a complete reduction in symptoms, experience an extended time to relapse and an improved quality of life compared with patients who are “almost clear” (IGA 1).3

Key survey findings showed that rosacea is an unmet need. Every second patient reported that they would potentially be willing to trade 6 months or more of their life to cure rosacea.1 Additionally, more than half of those who have worked at least 1 hour in the past 7 days (55%) indicated that their health problems have impacted their work productivity.1 People who are “clear” tend to have fewer doctor visits and say that their health problems had no effect (rated 0-2 out of 10) on their work productivity vs those who were “almost clear.”1 

Participants noted that they have a long way to go before being “clear.” Despite the availability of treatments and multiple health care professional visits, only 14% of patients surveyed rated themselves as “clear” of symptoms at the time of reporting, highlighting the extent of the unmet need, according to the authors. People who were “clear” were significantly less likely to be forced into modifying their daily behavior even in comparison to those who were “almost clear” (21% vs 16%; P≤.05).

The authors noted other key findings: 

  • The burden of rosacea goes beyond what patients feel physically and emotionally; the knock-on effect also impacts wider society and medical systems1
  • 86% of patients modify their behavior to manage their symptoms, with 1 in 5 making substantial changes to their daily life (such as avoiding social interaction, activities with friends, etc)1
  • People who report that rosacea has a very large impact on their life visit their doctor more than twice as often as those whose quality of life is less severely impacted (9.9 ± 10.6 vs 4.4 ± 3.2 visits per year)1
  • The number of patients visiting an emergency room in the past 12 months as a result of their rosacea varied from 13% to 26% across different countries1

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