PsoriasisThere currently no cure for psoriasis, but there are multiple psoriasis treatments available that can usually lead to a clearing of symptoms. The goal of treatment is to stop the skin cell overgrowth that leads to plaque formation and inflammation.
Treatment options include topical medications, oral medications, lasers, and a new class of medications called "biologics."
The doctors at Arizona Advanced Dermatology have a tremendous amount of experience in diagnosing and treating psoriasis. Dr Henry Roenigk is a national expert in psoriasis and has dozens of publications on the topic. Arizona Advanced Dermatology is one of the few practices in The Valley that has the Extract laser for psoriasis. The Extract Laser is a relatively new, safe and effective procedure for psoriasis.
Your doctor will recommend one or more of these treatments depending on the following factors:
For mild to moderate psoriasis, some people may find sufficient relief from one or more of the following creams or ointments applied directly to the lesion:
Oral medications may be prescribed for people with moderate to severe psoriasis whose lesions don’t respond sufficiently to topical medications or phototherapy. Because they are taken by mouth and absorbed into the blood, they reach the deeper layers of skin throughout the body. They can be very effective but have serious potential side effects to consider.
Systemic treatments include:
The excimer laser�recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating chronic, localized psoriasis plaques�emits a high-intensity beam of ultraviolet light B (UVB).
The excimer laser can target select areas of the skin (including scalp) affected by mild to moderate psoriasis. Individual response to the treatment varies. It can take an average of four to 10 sessions to see results, depending on the particular case of psoriasis. It is recommended that patients receive two treatments per week, with a minimum of 48 hours between treatments.
The treatments are painless and the is very little associated risk with this procedure.
Some cases of psoriasis require combining different therapies for improved results. For instance, Tazorac may be combined with a topical steroid, or Soriatane may be combined with phototherapy. Your doctor may recommend different combinations at different times.
Long-term use of some medications, such a cyclosporine or methotrexate, can lead to an increased risk of side effects. In addition, the benefits of some medications can diminish over time. In such cases, doctors may recommend rotating medications, using one medication for several months followed by another. For example, coal tar may be rotated with cyclosporine.
Biologics (also called "disease-modifying therapy" or "immunomodulators") are a relatively new treatment option for people with moderate to severe psoriasis. They are given this name because they are derived from human or animal proteins instead of chemicals like most other medications.
Biologics work by targeting specific parts of the immune system, such as T cells or TNF, a chemical used to transmit messages between immune cells. This focused approach reduces the likelihood of side effects seen with medications that affect the entire immune system.
Biologics must be administered by injection, either into the skin (subcutaneously), into the muscle (intramuscular or IM), or by intravenous infusion (IV). Subcutaneous injections are similar to the insulin shots used by someone with diabetes and can be administered by the person with psoriasis or a caregiver.
Some biologics may require long-term use to keep psoriasis under control. Stopping treatment can lead to a premature return of symptoms.
Currently, five biologic medications are FDA-approved for psoriasis:
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