A wide range of treatments are available to manage the flare-ups associated with all types and degrees of psoriasis. The goal of treatment is to prevent the formation of new lesions by modifying the body's immune mechanisms. Some treatments are "remittive" and some are "suppressive." Relief of symptoms that continues after the treatment is stopped is called a remission. It means that people with psoriasis may take a break from medication treatment. With other types of psoriasis treatments, the symptoms can return once the medication is stopped. When a medication is used continuously to keep symptoms at bay, this is known as suppression.
Moisturizers are vital for psoriasis. They won't clear it up, but they'll reduce the pain and itching, and may prevent flare-ups. It is also important to drink plenty of water.
There are dozens of creams and lotions people can apply. Coal tar has been used to great effect for centuries. It probably makes the skin more sensitive to UV light, and the two are often prescribed together. Coal tar is available without a prescription.
Topical (applied on the skin) medications that your doctor may recommend include salicylic acid*, anthralin, vitamin A-like agents (or retinoids; e.g., tazarotene), vitamin D-like agents (e.g., calcipotriol, calcitriol), and corticosteroids.
If topical treatments are not effective or if you have more severe psoriasis, oral medications (e.g., acitretin, cyclosporine, methotrexate) can be used for psoriasis treatment. These medications are taken by mouth and absorbed into the body. They work by affecting the body's immune system, which is overactive if you have psoriasis.
Another group of medications called biologics is used to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Biologics are medications given by injection that work by targeting the immune system. Adalimumab, alefacept, etanercept, infliximab, and ustekinumab are examples of biologics used to treat psoriasis.
Sunlight (or phototherapy) can help people with certain skin disorders, including psoriasis. Keep in mind that prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of sunburn, skin cancers, and cataracts. Remember to go easy – sunburn can cause a flare-up at the burn site. It is important to speak to your doctor before trying any light therapy. Always follow the directions provided by your health care provider when you are using light therapy treatment.
Light therapy includes UVB treatment, PUVA, and lasers. UVB treatment uses ultraviolet B light to treat the affected area. PUVA (psoralen plus ultraviolet A light) uses ultraviolet A light in combination with medication to make the skin more sensitive to the light. Laser treatment shines a focused beam of UVB light on the psoriasis plaques. All these phototherapies have side effects, so talk to your doctor about any questions you have if you are considering phototherapy for psoriasis.
For all treatments, it’s important to follow the directions for use and treatment schedule for your medication.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Psoriasis