A low-calorie diet that leads to weight loss may be associated with improved psoriasis symptoms in overweight patients, according to a report published Online First by JAMA Dermatology, a JAMA Network publication.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with a prevalence of about 2 percent in Northern Europe and North America. The role of weight loss as a treatment for psoriasis in obese patients is unclear. But, weight loss may reduce obesity-induced inflammation and that in turn may improve the skin disease, the authors write in the study background.

Peter Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., of the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial with 60 obese patients with psoriasis. The patients were randomly assigned into two groups: an intervention group that followed a low-energy (calorie) diet (LED, 800-1,000 kilocalories/per day) and a control group that continued to eat ordinary healthy foods. The main outcomes researchers measured were the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) after 16 weeks and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI).

"Treatment with an LED showed a trend in favor of clinically important PASI improvement and a significant reduction in DLQI in overweight patients with psoriasis," according to the study.

At baseline, the median (midpoint) PASI was 5.4. At week 16, the mean (average) body weight loss was almost 34 pounds (15.4 kg) greater in the intervention group than in the control group. The mean differences in PASI and DLQI, which also favored the intervention group, were -2.0 and -2.0, respectively, according to the study results. The study notes that the mean between-group difference in PASI of -2.0 did not reach statistical significance.

"Our results emphasize the importance of weight loss as part of a multimodal treatment approach to effectively treat both the skin condition and its associated comorbid conditions in overweight patients with psoriasis," the authors conclude.