PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 8 million people in the U.S. have psoriasis and current methods of managing the disease have resulted in patient frustration, largely due to the lack of a standardized treatment guideline for achieving clear skin. Determining the degree of skin clearance and how soon it should occur is paramount in the management of the disease. For the first time in the United States, patients now have the ability to work with their health care provider to create a proactive treatment plan based on guidelines with a distinct set of measurable targets. Led by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Medical Board, these guidelines were created to develop treatment targets, which includes not only treatment goals, but guidelines on how long it should take to achieve each goal. A paper that outlines these guidelines is available online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. "This is a pivotal, groundbreaking effort that defines treatment targets for psoriasis patients in the U.S.," said Dr. April Armstrong, co-author of the paper, NPF Medical Board member and dermatologist at the University of Southern California. "The goal of these guidelines is to spark a dialogue between patients and health care providers about setting goals and to have a defined set of metrics to evaluate the current course of treatment." According to NPF surveys, as many as 18 percent of psoriasis patients experience moderate to severe psoriasis which covers more than 3 percent of a patient's body surface area (BSA). The new guidelines establish an initial goal of reducing psoriasis BSA coverage to one percent or less within three months of starting treatment. If after three months a patient has seen some improvement, but not down to the one percent level, an "acceptable response" is defined as a 75 percent improvement in BSA. The guidelines recommend that six months after starting treatment, patients achieve a BSA of one percent or less and once that is achieved, patients should continue to check in with their health care provider every six months to maintain this target.