BACKGROUND: Topical corticosteroid or corticosteroid/calcipotriol preparations are recommended first-line topical treatments of psoriasis, but a main cause for the lack of efficacy of topical treatments is considered low rates of adherence to topical drugs. Patient support by the use of applications (apps) for smartphones is suggested to improve medical adherence.
METHODS/DESIGN: Design: An investigator-initiated, single-center, single-blind, parallel-group, phase-4 clinical superiority randomized controlled trial (RCT).
PARTICIPANTS: 134 patients 18 to 75 years of age with mild-to-moderate psoriasis, who are capable of reading English language, own a smartphone, and are candidates for the study drug calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate (Cal/BD) cutaneous foam once daily prn (pro re nata).
INTERVENTION: A 28-day adherence-supporting app providing compulsory daily treatment reminders that pop-up on the smartphone screen with a short alert sound. The app synchronizes through Bluetooth® to an electronic monitor (EM) attached to the medication canister. The EM contains a chip registering the amount of foam, day and time the patient use the foam dispenser. The information is displayed in a diary that shows the amount of Cal/BD cutaneous foam used and the number of applied treatment sessions. The app has an optional diary with the patient's rating of symptoms. Non-intervention: Use of Cal/BD cutaneous foam and EM without the app. All participants are prescribed Cal/BD cutaneous foam prn for the entire study period. Primary outcome obtained in week 4: rates of adherence measured by patient report, weight of medication canisters, and number of treatment sessions measured by the EM. Secondary outcomes obtained at baseline, weeks 4, 8, and 26: Lattice System Physician's Global Assessment (LS-PGA) and Dermatology Quality of Life Index (DLQI).
DISCUSSION: This trial tests of whether an app can improve rates of adherence to a topical antipsoriatic drug. If the app improves rates of adherence and reduces the burden of psoriasis in a clinically significant way, the app could easily be implemented as a standard routine of care in the clinic.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02858713 , registered on August 3, 2016. EudraCT number 2016-002143-42.