Psoriasis medications have made great advances in recent years. One of the most important aspects has been the recognition by the medical community of the benefits of natural(alternative) treatments.

We will now examine the four types of psoriasis treatments: Topical treatments, Systemic medications (Prescription), Phototherapy, and Alternative approaches. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and also some of the new psoriasis treatment options.

Topical psoriasis medications

Topical treatments are lotions and creams that are applied directly to the skin. Most users apply these psoriasis medications at night, and they are usually messy. These psoriasis medications can help give temporarily relief, but long term will not help reduce or eliminate psoriasis.

Anthralin - is a prescription treatment used primarily to treat plaque psoriasis. It does not work as well as steroids, but has none of the long-term side effects associated with steroids. This psoriasis medicine tends to stain anything it touches such as skin, clothing, bedding, etc. You need to wear gloves when applying this psoriasis medicine, and it is important not to get it on unaffected skin. Anthralin must be fresh to work, and has a shelf life of only 6 months.

Tar Therapy – this psoriasis medicine is available over the counter, and is safe and effective. It has been around for hundreds of years, and is most effective on mild psoriasis. Like most topical psoriasis medications, 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. The FDA has not mandated cancer-warning labels yet.

Dovonex – is a prescription medication used to treat mild to moderate psoriasis. It slows down the rate of skin cell growth, flattens psoriasis lesions and removes scale. It can also be used on nail and scalp psoriasis. The most common minor side effect of this psoriasis medicine 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. You must be careful not to overuse dovonex. The medication is absorbed into the body, so overuse can increase the side effects.

Salicylic Acid – this psoriasis medicine 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. It is also used in some psoriasis shampoos. It is a very popular psoriasis medicine.

Tazorac – is a prescription psoriasis medicine used in treating plaque psoriasis. It is a vitamin A derivative. Tazorac is often used in conjunction with a moisturizer because it can cause dryness of the skin. The psoriasis often becomes very red before eventually improving. This is a very common occurrence. Tazorac has few side effects. Skin irritation is the most common. When using Tazorac you may be more susceptible to sunburn. It is not recommended for pregnant women or children under 12.

Topical steroids – are commonly used for treating mild to moderate psoriasis lesions. They are available by prescription. They are very effective, but have the most side effects. They should only be used under the close supervision of a doctor. Side effects include: Skin thinning, changes in skin pigmentation, easy bruising, stretch marks, steroid redness and dilated surface blood vessels may occur. Steroids are absorbed into the body, so if overused they can affect the persons whole body including internal organs. It is very common for the psoriasis to come back (rebound) worse if the steroids are discontinued abruptly. Slowly tapering off is recommended to avoid a “rebound”.

Systemic psoriasis medications

Systemic psoriasis medications are prescription medications usually reserved for people with moderate to severe psoriasis. These psoriasis medications are taken orally or given by injection or infusion. They affect the entire body, and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor. The most common systemic medications include:

Amevive – Is a relatively new psoriasis treatment. This psoriasis medicine is for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It is given by injection in a doctor’s office, once a week for 12 weeks.

Enbrel – this new psoriasis treatment was approved by the FDA in 2004 for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. In 2002 it was approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. It is also approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis affecting the spine). Users give themselves an injection under the skin once or twice per week.

Raptiva - Is also a new psoriasis treatment, approved by the FDA in 2003. This psoriasis medication is for treating moderate to severe psoriasis. Users give themselves an injection under the skin once per week.

Remicade – has been approved for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. This psoriasis medicine has not yet been approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis. Many doctors though are prescribing it "off-label" for psoriasis, a common and accepted medical practice.

Humira – has been approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It has not yet been approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis. Like Remicade, many doctors though are prescribing this medication "off-label" for psoriasis, a common and accepted medical practice. This new psoriasis treatment has been around since 2003.

Cyclosporine - this psoriasis medicine works by suppressing the immune system, which helps slow the growth of skin cells. This psoriasis medicine has many side effects, and a doctor must monitor the patient closely. It is recommended that you discuss the side effects with your doctor before using this medicine.

Methotrexate – this psoriasis medication helps to slow down the rate of skin-cell growth. It is prescribed for severe plaque psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and acute pustular psoriasis. This is not a new psoriasis treatment, it has been around since the 1970's.

Soriatane – is not a new psoriasis treatment. It has been around since the 1970's. It is taken orally, and is used to treat severe psoriasis in adults. This psoriasis medicine tends to work slowly. It can take 4-6 months or more to see optimal results, especially for plaque psoriasis. The most serious side effect is birth defects if used by pregnant women. Common side effects include: Hair loss, bleeding gums, depression, headache, dry skin, chapped lips, joint pain.


Phototherapy is treatment using ultraviolet light. Many medical professionals believe that exposure to ultraviolet light will cause premature aging of the skin, and increase the chances of getting skin cancer. There are numberous studies currently underway studying this. These possible side effects should be discussed with your doctor before treatment. The two types of phototherapy are:

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. It is safe for adults and children. Treatment is usually done in a doctor’s office until the psoriasis is stabilized. At that point, the doctor may prescribe home maintenance.

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. It is about 85% effective, but not recommended for teenagers or children. Studies have shown that the more treatments you have, the more at risk you are for developing skin cancer. It is often tried when nothing else helps.

Alternative approaches

Alternative approaches involve natural and herbal treatments. Natural medicine has grown in popularity within the past 10 years, due to the ease of finding information on the internet. We believe that natural treatments are the best treatment option for psoriasis. They offer the best long-term options for controlling or eliminating psoriasis. They have none of the side effects typical of psoriasis medications.

There are many in the health care field that believe psoriasis is curable by using the right natural treatments. They believe that treating psoriasis from the inside and from the outside can reduce or cure it. Topical treatments from the outside will relieve symptoms and provide temporary relief. Treatment from the inside will help build up your immune system, and reduce or eliminate future outbreaks. Building up your immune system is the key to long-term psoriasis relief.

For the topical treatment of psoriasis, we have found an extremely effective product. It contains only safe and natural ingredients, and we believe it is the best psoriasis product on the market. That product is Thena Healing Cream. We highly recommend you follow this link to learn more about it, and how it can help you.

We have been recommending a product for several years now to help strengthen your immune system. It also contains only safe and natural ingredients, and the results have been remarkable. For treating psoriasis, we believe it is absolutely essential. That product is Zenmed Skin Support Supplement. Follow this link to learn more about it, and how it can help you.

We have seen even the worst cases of psoriasis eliminated. You just need to start your treatments for psoriasis immediately, and use the right safe natural ingredients.

If you have any questions about psoriasis medications, any specific psoriasis medicine, or a new psoriasis treatment, please contact us. There are safe and effective treatments for psoriasis that work, you just need to give them a try.

Additional reading

Psoriasis Treatment Guide – Our 5 step treatment guide to eliminate psoriasis. Better and safer than psoriasis medications. None of the severe side effects of psoriasis medications.

Dead Sea salt psoriasis treatments - See why are Dead Sea salt products especially effective for psoriasis. For many people they work better than psoriasis medications.

Psoriasis scalp treatment and shampoo - Discover which shampoos help your scalp problem. See why natural treatments are better than psoriasis medicine.

More Than Psoriasis Medications on our What is Psoriasis Page

Healthy Skin Guide Home Page