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Know your psoriasis treatment options

Know your psoriasis treatment options

Although psoriasis is incurable it responds well to treatments, therefore treating your psoriasis is critical to good disease management and improved quality of life. You should consult your doctor in order to find the best treatment option for you, as a treatment that may work for one person might not work for the other. It is important to educate yourself on all the treatment options available in order to help you find the ones that suit you best.


Treatment usually begins with topical ointments and creams including steroids that are applied to the skin and are designed to thin the scales. Topicals decelerate excessive cell reproduction and reduce psoriasis inflammation. There are several effective topical treatments for psoriasis, some can be purchased over the counter (OTC), and others can be purchased with prescription only.

A new all-natural, effective topical treatment that combines the healing properties of cannabis with multi-acting ingredients is now available over the counter by the name of DermaZor®. Clinically tested, DermaZor® has proven efficacy in the treatment of psoriasis, relieving symptoms and restoring the skin to its natural and healthy state.

Biologic Drugs

The biologic drugs, also referred to as "biologics" are taken by injection (shot) or by intravenous (IV) infusion (a slow drip of medicine into your vein). Biologics target specific parts of the immune system, unlike systemic drugs that impact the entire immune system. The biologics used to treat psoriatic disease block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T cell, or block proteins in the immune system. These cells and proteins play a major role in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. If you consider taking a biologic drug you should talk with your doctor about the short- and long-term side effects and risks. Biologic drugs can increase the risk of infection.

Systemic Drugs

Systemic drugs are given in order to slow down the rapid skin growth. They are usually used for patients with moderate to severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and are also used in those who are not responsive or are unable to take topical medications or UV light therapy. Systemic drugs are given by prescription and work throughout the entire body.

The traditional systemic drugs are as follows:

  • Citretin (Soriatane)
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate
  • Off-label systemics

Photo Therapy

Photo therapy or light therapy calms the immune system by delivering Ultraviolet A (UVA) and narrow-band Ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation to areas of plaque on a regular basis. Treatments are done in a doctor's office or at home with phototherapy unit.

There are different types of light therapy:

  • Ultraviolet light B (UVB): UVB is an effective treatment for psoriasis. It penetrates the skin and slows the growth of affected skin cells.
  • Sunlight: Although both UVB and UVA are found in sunlight, UVB is the most effective one for psoriasis. UVB from the sun works the same way as UVB in phototherapy treatments. The disadvantages are that you should avoid overexposure and sunburn, and it can take several weeks to see improvement.
  • Psoralen + UVA (PUVA): UVA is relatively ineffective unless used with a light-sensitizing medication Psoralen, which is administered topically or orally. This process, called PUVA, slows down excessive skin cell growth and can clear psoriasis symptoms for varying periods of time.
  • Laser Treatments: The excimer laser which is FDA approved for treating chronic, localized psoriasis plaques, emits a high-intensity beam of UVB, and can target select areas of the skin affected by mild to moderate psoriasis.
  • Tanning beds: Tanning beds in commercial salons are used by some people as an alternative to natural sunlight. The tanning beds emit mostly UVA light, and not UVB, which is the most effective one for treating psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation does not support the use of indoor tanning beds as a substitute for natural sunlight of phototherapy in the treatment of psoriasis, as indoor tanning raises the risk of melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology and the World Health Organization. The ultraviolet radiation from these devices can damage the skin, cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer.

The risk of developing skin cancer in doing photo therapy is elevated. Therefore, there are some dermatologists who avoid doing light therapy for treating psoriasis.

New Oral Treatments

New oral treatments are small molecule medicines that are taken by mouth. Unlike systemic drugs that work throughout the entire body, these new oral treatments selectively target molecules inside immune cells to correct the overactive immune response that causes inflammation in people with psoriasis.

The common risks and side effects are: Gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, depression and weight decrease.

Life Style Changes

Managing a healthy lifestyle can make a world of difference when it comes to psoriasis. You can start by making small healthy changes every day. Below are recommended actions, which are the fundamental basics of healthy living for people with psoriasis:

  • Control weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce stress

Living with psoriasis can be challenging, but you can control your disease by choosing the best treatment option for you and living a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you can choose only one treatment or a combination of treatments – do what is best for you and before choosing any treatment, make sure to consult with your doctor.


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