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All about psoriasis types of psoriasis causes of psoriasis diagnosis of psoriasis psoriasis triggers symptoms of psoriasis psoriasis risk factors treatment for psoriasis topical treatment for psoriasis phototherapy treatment for psoriasis systemic treatment for psoriasis plaque psoriasis guttate psoriasis flexural psoriasis pustular psoriasis erythrodermic psoriasis scalp psoriasis

What is the treatment for psoriasis?

Psoriasis continues to be one of the more difficult skin conditions to treat. The wide range of treatments available for psoriasis illustrates this; no one treatment will work for everyone. There is no cure for psoriasis but several new medications have recently been introduced and ongoing research looks promising. In general the treatment is chosen on the basis of the pattern of psoriasis and its severity. Sometimes several treatments may need to be tried before the most suitable regime is

established. Different medications may need to be used together or in rotation for best effect or to minimise side effects.

Doctors generally treat psoriasis in steps based on the severity of the disease, size of the areas involved, type of psoriasis, and the patient's response to initial treatments. This is sometimes called the "1-2-3" approach. In step 1, medicines are applied to the skin (topical treatment). Step 2 uses ultraviolet light treatments (phototherapy). Step 3 involves taking medicines by mouth or injection that treat the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).

Over time, affected skin can become resistant to treatment, especially when topical corticosteroids are used. Also, a treatment that works very well in one person may have little effect in another. Thus, doctors often use a trial-and-error approach to find a treatment that works, and they may switch treatments periodically (for example, every 12 to 24 months) if a treatment does not work or if adverse reactions occur. In general, the following three treatment options are used for psoriasis from least to greatest potency:

Topical medications - Options include lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos. These may be useful for mild-to-moderate psoriasis. Topical medicines rarely produce complete clearance, however.

Phototherapy - Options include light-wave radiation treatments using ultraviolet B (UVB) or psoralen with ultraviolet A (PUVA). This therapy is effective for moderate-to-severe psoriasis. In a 1999 study, phototherapies were much more effective than systemic drugs in achieving the longest remission. It also appears to have fewer side effects than most systemic agents. Even more promising, in a 2000 analysis comparing a number of psoriasis treatments, an advanced phototherapy called narrow band UVB achieved the highest complete clearance rate (86% of patients). (New lasers using UVB may even be more effective for certain patients.)

Systemic agents - This treatment employs various oral drugs that affect the whole body system, not just the skin. These agents have significant side effects and are generally reserved for severe psoriasis.

These treatments can be combined in various ways to try to get the best outcome. Finding the most effective treatment for an affected individual can involve a lot of trial and error. What works for one person may not work for someone else. People with severe and extensive psoriasis may get the most relief and avoid or reduce side effects when treatments are rotated.

Treatments for psoriasis can often control the disease for long periods. However, none of the available treatments is a cure. The disease can come back when treatment stops.

Biologic agents are being introduced for the treatment of psoriasis and have substantial advantages over previously used systemic therapies because they have fewer risks and side effects. Two of the therapies currently being used, etanercept and remicade, are already available for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Both therapies are tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, which work by interfering with specific immune responses that are responsible for psoriasis.

More information on psoriasis

What is psoriasis? - Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched.
What types of psoriasis are there? - Types of psoriasis include plaque psoriasis, guttate psoriasis, pustular psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, flexural psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and nail psoriasis.
What causes psoriasis? - Psoriasis is driven by the immune system. Psoriasis is the growth of too many skin cells. The first outbreak of psoriasis is often triggered by emotional or mental stress or physical skin injury.
How is psoriasis diagnosed? - Physicians diagnose psoriasis by examining the affected skin. In people with psoriatic arthritis, the arthritis usually follows the appearance of psoriasis.
What triggers psoriasis? - Psoriasis triggers include streptococcal infection, sun exposure, drug reactions, hormonal factors, psychological factors, and skin trauma.
What are the psoriasis symptoms? - Symptoms depend on the type of psoriasis the individual has and may include bright red areas of raised patches (plaques) on the skin, tiny areas of bleeding, and itching.
What are the psoriasis risk factors? - The risks associated with developing psoriasis are similar to the triggers of the disease. The most significant risk factor for psoriasis is a family history of the condition.
What is the treatment for psoriasis? - The treatment is chosen on the basis of the pattern of psoriasis and its severity. Treatments for psoriasis can often control the disease for long periods.
What is the topical treatment for psoriasis? - Some patients with psoriasis respond well to ointment or cream forms of corticosteroids, vitamin D3, retinoids, coal tar, or anthralin. The medication that is best may depend on the type and location of the psoriasis.
What is the phototherapy treatment for psoriasis? - Phototherapy treatment for psoriasis uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill T cells in skin, reducing redness and slowing the overproduction of skin cells that causes scaling.
What is the systemic treatment for psoriasis? - Systemic treatment for psoriasis involves taking medicines internally by pill or injection. Systemic psoriasis treatment drugs include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine.
What is plaque psoriasis? - Plaque psoriasis can is a disease with very clearly defined area of skin which has a raised, red and inflamed section of skin covered in silvery scales.
What is guttate psoriasis? - Guttate psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that looks like small, salmon-pink drops on the skin. Guttate psoriasis is characterised by multiple tiny areas of psoriasis.
What is flexural psoriasis? - Flexural psoriasis is a form of psoriasis found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts and in other flexion creases (skin folds) such as those around the genitals and buttocks.
What is pustular psoriasis? - Pustular psoriasis is an uncommon form of psoriasis. People with pustular psoriasis have clearly defined, raised bumps on the skin that are filled with pus (pustules).
What is erythrodermic psoriasis? - Erythrodermic psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that often affects most of the body surface. Erythroderma is a generalised redness of the skin.
What is scalp psoriasis? - Scalp psoriasis range from very mild with fine scaling to very severe with thick, crusted plaques. Scalp psoriasis scales appear powdery with a silvery sheen. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005