is no curative treatment to completely eradicate psoriasis; despite the effectiveness of the medications, you
can never be sure that the disease will not return. However, there are effective medical treatments that are
able to control the symptoms, reduce or eliminate the lesions and improve your life. In addition, treatments
vary depending on the type of psoriasis, location and its severity
There are two
types of treatment for psoriasis:
creams and ointments are often
mild to moderate forms of psoriasis. They are used to relax the tissues, reduce inflammation, and soften the
keratolytics can be used to facilitate
exfoliation of excess epidermal cells. The reduction
of redness can be done by a group of products called reducers: coal tar, anthralin
corticosteroids, and Vitamin
- Coal tar - Coal tar is a brown or black over-the-counter
medication often used in the treatment of psoriasis. In fact it is considered as the most ancient form of
psoriasis treatment. When used regularly, coal tar can reduce inflammation and scaling with no or few side
effects. Some products containing coal tar include Balnetar,
Psoriasin and Tegrin
D analogues -
Vitamin D and its analogues are
sometimes effective in the treatment of psoriasis. They are used to reduce or control the excessive growth
of skin cells. The most common drug used in the US is Calcipotriene (Dovonex or Daivonex). Calcipotriene is
available in the form of cream, ointment and scalp solution. Calcipotriene can be sued alone or in
combination with other topical medications. Usually, improvement is seen within 2 weeks of regular
corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation and stop outbreaks in
mild to moderate
start the treatment, your dermatologist will likely prescribe to you low-potency corticosteroid
ointments. They reduce
inflammation and itching by suppressing your immune system. In some
patients, however, low-potency corticosteroids cause a form of insensitivity, which requires increasing
doses over time.In
general, corticosteroids are used for a short period of time and on limited areas of the body. The problem
is that in the majority of people, the plaques tend to come
from the discontinuation of the treatment.
drug is applied on the skin to dry psoriatic plaques and
remove the scales. It controls the abnormal growth of skin cells, thus preventing future outbreaks. For
most people, anthralin stop the symptoms of psoriasis and prevent their recurrence for a long period of
time. However, anthralin usually starts working after several weeks of application. In addition, it tends
to stain your skin, clothing and bedding.
inhibitors - calcineurin
inhibitors (tacrolimus and pimecrolimus) are mainly used to treat atopic dermatitis symptoms. Studies have
shown, however, that the drug can also provide relief in the life of people struggling with moderate
of calcineurin inhibitors can lead to
serious health problems including lymphoma and
Retinoids are commonly used in the treatment of acne. However, tazarotene (Tazorac, Avage), a
derivative of vitamin A, works effectively in fighting psoriasis symptoms. Retinoids are used mainly in the
treatment of pustular psoriasis. It is available in ointment.
using tazarotene, it is
important to talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or may become pregnant; although rare, the drug can cause
birth defect. In addition, application of tazarotene should always be associated with sunscreen to
prevent sun damage to your skin.
if other treatments do not produce any satisfying results, your dermatologist will expose your skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation to treat
this form of psoriasis therapy is called phototherapy; depending on method used, phototherapy may
- Sunlight - daily sun exposure in moderation can have a
curative effect on mild to moderate form of psoriasis. However, direct and prolonged exposure to sun rays
can be harmful. You must follow this treatment after the advice of a medical specialist. In addition, you
must monitor closely how your body reacts to sun exposure.
therapy) – this is a form of psoriasis treatment using artificial ultraviolet light.
phototherapy is realized with tubes providing specific wavelength specific (311-313nm). The therapy is usually
performed three times a week for a few minutes per session.
phototherapy can be effective in combating the symptoms of psoriasis. However, it must be done under strict
medical supervision to avoid health problems such as skin cancer. In addition, it is necessary to use a natural
moisturizer during the therapy to prevent skin problems including but not limited to redness, itching and
- Photochemotherapy or PUVA
therapy - this method
consists of exposing the infected area of your skin to ultra-violet A, after taking a light-sensitizing
medication called psoralen (or psoralene). Exposure to ultraviolet A alone does not always give good
results. Therefore, 1½ to 2 hours before the therapy, you will be recommended to take psoralen tablets to
allow skin sensitization. Typically, 3 sessions per week for about 5-15 minutes are sufficient.
therapy is less used due to its
multiple side effects: nausea, headache, burning and itching, and wrinkled skin. In addition, the therapy may
increase your risk of getting melanoma, a serious
form of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor and think twice before doing this therapy.
Systematic treatment - For the most severe forms of psoriasis, your doctor can
prescribe systemic treatments in which the medications are spread throughout your body. These drugs can be taken
orally or by injection:
Methotrexate - is an antagonist of folic acid. It used in the
treatment of a variety of diseases associated with abnormally rapid cell growth including psoriasis.
Methotrexate is primarily used in psoriatic arthritis to suppress inflammation. Side effects may
- weakened immune
- mouth sores
- stomach upset
- headache and dizziness
- skin rash and itching
- although rare,
methotrexate can cause toxicity of the liver, kidneys and lungs.
retinoids are vitamin A derivatives; they are recommended in moderate to severe psoriasis, or when the
other alternatives fail to produce a satisfying result. Those drugs are, however, teratogenic; they can
impact the growth and development
of embryo or fetus not only
during the treatment but also two years after the last dose. Women of reproductive age should not take
retinoids if you consider becoming pregnant.
drug is an immunosuppressant commonly is used in psoriasis. The drug can be effective, but always
accompanied by side effects due to the immune system weakness effect. If you are taking cyclosporine, it is
important to avoid all pathogenic factors because your risk of infection and other serious health problems is
medications that your dermatologist may prescribe you include: Hydroxyurea, alefacept (Amevive), etanercept (Enbrel) and
It is important during the
treatment to avoid alcohol
and tobacco; adopt a healthy diet containing omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, regular exercise and good night
sleep (at least eight hours) are vital.