MEDICATIONS FOR PSORASIS
Learn the benefits and side effects of psorasis medications.
Medications for psorasis have made great advances in the past 20 years. One of the most important has been the recognition by the medical community of the benefits of natural and herbal treatments. In many cases, natural remedies are equal to or superior to traditional psorasis treatments. One important advantage of natural treatments is that they usually have no side effects.
We will now discuss the four different types of psorasis treatments: Topical Treatments, Systemic Medications, Phototherapy, and Natural (Alternative) Approaches.
Topical psorasis medications
Creams and lotions that are applied directly to the skin are topical psorasis medications. These medications for psorasis are messy, and usually are used at night. They can give temporarily relief, but do not provide any long-term benefits. Common topical psorasis medications include:
Tar Therapy – is available over the counter. It is relatively effective, but it is very messy. There are worries about tar causing cancer, and in 2002 the state of California required cancer-warning labels on tar products.
Anthralin - is available by prescription, and is used primarily to treat plaque psoriasis. It tends to stain anything it touches such as skin, clothing, bedding, etc. Gloves must be worn when applying this medication, and it is important not to get it on unaffected skin. It has a shelf life of only 6 months.
Dovonex – is for treating mild to moderate psoriasis, and is available only by prescription. It slows down the rate of skin cell growth, flattens psoriasis lesions and removes scale. It can also be used on scalp and nail psoriasis. The most common minor side effect is skin irritation, usually in the form of stinging or burning. Less common side effects include dry skin, peeling, rash, dermatitis and worsening of psoriasis. The medication is absorbed into the body, so overuse can increase the side effects.
Salicylic acid – helps remove scales, and is available in over the counter and prescription forms. It is commonly used with tar, topical steroids or anthralin to enhance effectiveness.
Tazorac – is used in treating plaque psoriasis, and is available by prescription. Tazorac can cause dryness of the skin, so it is often used in conjunction with a moisturizer. Tazorac has few side effects. Skin irritation is the most common.
Topical steroids – these medications for psorasis are very effective, but have the most side effects. Side effects include: Skin thinning, changes in skin pigmentation, easy bruising, stretch marks, steroid redness and dilated surface blood vessels may occur. If overused they can affect the persons whole body including internal organs. It is very common for the psoriasis to come back worse if the steroids are discontinued abruptly.
Systemic medications for psorasis
Systemic medications for psorasis are available by prescription, and are usually reserved for people with moderate to severe psoriasis. They affect the entire body, and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. The most common systemic psorasis medications are:
Amevive – this psorasis treatment is given by injection in a doctor’s office, once a week for 12 weeks. It is for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Enbrel – is for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and in 2002 was approved for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. Users give themselves injections under the skin once or twice per week.
Raptiva – is for treating moderate to severe psoriasis. Users give themselves an injection under the skin once per week.
Remicade and Humira - have not yet been approved by the FDA for treating psoriasis. Many doctors prescribe them "off-label" for psoriasis, a common and accepted medical practice.
Cyclosporine - suppresses the immune system, which helps slow the growth of skin cells. There are many side effects, and users must be monitored closely by a doctor.
Methotrexate – this medications for psorasis helps to slow down the rate of skin-cell growth. It is prescribed for severe plaque psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and acute pustular psoriasis.
Phototherapy psorasis treatment
Phototherapy is treatment using ultraviolet light. Many medical professionals believe that exposure to ultraviolet light will cause premature aging, and increase the chances of getting skin cancer. These possible side effects should be discussed with your doctor before treatment. There are two types of phototherapy:
UVB Phototherapy - is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. UVB radiation penetrates the skin and slows the abnormally rapid growth of skin cells associated with psoriasis.
PUVA - is used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. It is also used to treat severe, disabling psoriasis that cannot be controlled solely by systemic drugs. It is relatively ineffective unless used with a light-sensitizing medication. Treatments are done in a doctor’s office. Studies have shown that the more treatments you have, the more at risk you are for developing skin cancer.
Natural medicine has grown in popularity within the past 10 years, due primarily to the ease of finding information on the internet. At healthy skin guide, we believe that natural treatments are your best option. They offer the best long-term solutions for controlling or eliminating psorasis, and have none of the side effects typical of other psorasis medications.
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If you have any questions about medications for psorasis, please write to us. If you have questions about our recommended natural psorasis medication, please contact us.
More than Medications For Psorasis on our What is Psoriasis Page
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