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Epidemiology, characteristics of disease and unmet needs of patients with generalized pustular psoriasis: a large Italian Delphi consensus.

INTRODUCTION: Generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) is a rare and chronic, debilitating skin condition characterised, in its acute flare phase, by clinically severe and potentially life-threatening systemic manifestations. Data on GPP are still scanty, particularly in Europe and at a national level. To provide expert indications on several disease-related and patient-related aspects of GPP, with specific focus to the Italian context.

METHODS: We conducted an iterative eDelphi study following the recommended criteria for reporting methods and results. After a thorough bibliographic review aimed to identify unknown or controversial issues in GPP, the following areas were investigated through a few specific questions/statements for each area: 1) disease epidemiology; 2) disease characteristics, with specific interest towards GPP flares; 3) diagnosis and diagnostic delay; 4) GPP treatment; 5) GPP patient journey and use of healthcare resources in Italy; 6) unmet needs and quality of life. An Executive Board of 9 principal investigators revised and approved the topics to be examined and overviewed the whole project. A total of 35 experts from different Italian areas, including 34 board-certified Italian dermatologists and one representative of patients' associations, took part in the study.

RESULTS: A high agreement in responses from Italian experts emerged during two eDelphi iterations on - among several other aspects - GPP prevalence and incidence in Italy, use of European Rare and Severe Psoriasis Expert Network diagnostic criteria, flare frequency and duration, best diagnostic and care pathway, and main unmet needs of Italian patients. On the other hand, a broad spectrum of treatments (of different drug classes) was reported both in the acute and chronic phases of GPP, and no consensus on the issue was thus achieved.

CONCLUSIONS: Consensus findings from this Delphi study of GPP experts may be useful to fill gaps of knowledge and improve awareness of this rare disease, as well as to help clinical and public health management of GPP in Italy.

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