People diagnosed with psoriasis face certain difficulties of finding the best treatment available for them among many choices. The severity of the condition and the response to previous treatment helps the dermatologist determine what treatment will be best. Primary treatment goals aim to:
Certain treatments for psoriasis have potential side effects. And people diagnosed with moderate or severe psoriasis may need treatment for the rest of their lives. Many doctors will recommend that treatments be changed or rotated after a certain period of time. This is done to make treatment more effective and to reduce side effects. An individual may need to try different treatments before they find one that works well for them. It is always important to discuss treatment and progress with the doctor.
Education, stress reduction, and muscle relaxation training can help many people with psoriasis. Adding these elements to a treatment plan can decrease disability, anxiety, and stress related to dealing with psoriasis. The following tips may improve symptoms or help reduce the number of psoriasis flare-ups:
Light therapies are usually used for moderate to severe cases of psoriasis and aim to help slow down skin cell growth and kill T-cells. During light therapy, the skin or psoriasis lesions are exposed to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB rays). One type of light therapy, PUVA (psoralen and UVA) employs a combination of medication with ultraviolet light. PUVA is used for patients with severe cases of psoriasis. Treatment is usually administered in a dermatologist's office but can also be administered in a psoriasis clinic.
Treatments for psoriasis don't work the same for everyone. Doctors may switch medications if one doesn't work, if there is a bad reaction, or if the treatment stops working. This is why when the doctor prescribes you any medicines, it is best to keep your doctor informed of your psoriasis status.
Biologics - Biologics are the latest advance in psoriasis treatment on a systemic level. They are administered by intravenous infusion or by injection to people with moderate to severe psoriasis.
Systemic medications - Systemic therapies circulate throughout the entire body. They can be taken orally in pill form or may be given by injection. Types of systemic medications include retinoids, as well as medications that suppress the immune system like cyclosporine and methotrexate.
Topical medications - Topical therapies such as ointments and creams are often used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis cases. They may also be used in conjunction with other therapies to treat more severe psoriasis cases. Topical treatments include corticosteroids. These are anti-inflammatory ointments that are applied to the skin. They can vary in strength and can relieve symptoms. Resistance to corticosteroids may develop quickly. Symptoms can become more severe once treatment stops. Other topical medications can include anthralin, coal tar, topical retinoids, and vitamin D analogs.