- Psoriasis Pictures
- Take the Psoriasis Quiz
- Severe Forms of Psoriasis Slideshow
- Psoriasis FAQs
- Patient Comments: Psoriasis - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Psoriasis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Scalp Psoriasis - Creams and Lotions
- Patient Comments: Psoriasis - Diet
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
- Psoriasis facts
- What is psoriasis?
- What are psoriasis causes and risk factors?
- What are the different types of psoriasis?
- Can psoriasis affect my joints?
- Can psoriasis affect only my nails?
- What are psoriasis symptoms and signs? What does psoriasis look like?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose psoriasis?
- Eczema vs. psoriasis
- How many people have psoriasis?
- Is psoriasis contagious?
- Is there a cure for psoriasis?
- Is psoriasis hereditary?
- What kind of doctor treats psoriasis?
- What is the treatment for psoriasis?
- What creams, lotions, and home remedies are available for psoriasis?
- Are psoriasis shampoos available?
- What oral medications are available for psoriasis?
- What injections or infusions are available for psoriasis?
- Is there a psoriasis diet?
- What about light therapy for psoriasis?
- What is the long-term prognosis with psoriasis? What are complications of psoriasis?
- Is it possible to prevent psoriasis?
- What does the future hold for psoriasis?
- Is there a national psoriasis support group?
- Where can people get more information on psoriasis?
Quick GuideA Visual Guide to Psoriasis Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
What is the treatment for psoriasis?
There are many effective treatment choices for psoriasis. The best treatment is individually determined by the treating physician and depends, in part, on the type of disease, the severity, and amount of skin involved.
For mild disease that involves only small areas of the body (like less than 10% of the total skin surface), topical (skin applied) creams, lotions, and sprays may be very effective and safe to use. Occasionally, a small local injection of steroids directly into a tough or resistant isolated psoriatic plaque may be helpful.
For moderate to severe disease that involves much larger areas of the body (like 20% or more of the total skin surface), topical products may not be effective or practical to apply. This may require ultraviolet light treatments or systemic (total body treatments such as pills or injections) medications. Internal medications usually have greater risks. Because topical therapy has no effect on psoriatic arthritis, systemic medications are generally required to stop the progression to permanent joint destruction.
It is important to keep in mind that as with any medical condition, all medications carry possible side effects. No medication is 100% effective for everyone, and no medication is 100% safe. The decision to use any medication requires thorough consideration and discussion with your physician. The risks and potential benefit of medications have to be considered for each type of psoriasis and the individual patient. Of two patients with precisely the same amount of disease, one may tolerate it with very little treatment, while the other may become incapacitated and require treatment internally.
A proposal to minimize the toxicity of some of these medicines has been commonly called "rotational" therapy. The idea is to change the anti-psoriasis drugs every six to 24 months in order to minimize the toxicity of one medication. Depending on the medications selected, this proposal can be an option. An exception to this proposal is the use of the newer biologic medications as described below. A patient who has been using strong topical steroids over large areas of their body for prolonged periods may benefit from stopping the steroids for a while and rotating onto a different therapy, like calcitriol (Vectical), light therapy, or a systemic drug.