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Prescription Options for Psoriasis

Thursday, May 13th

Prescription Options for Psoriasis

More than just an aggravating skin rash, psoriasis can have devastating consequences in its severest form and can be quite difficult to deal with even if it is mild. While the future holds exciting breakthroughs in medications used to fight psoriasis, those drugs are still awaiting FDA approval. This means that psoriasis patients have to deal with their condition with the traditional options of the past for the time being.

Since psoriasis is caused by an immune response in the skin, medications such as topical steroids are commonly used to handle this skin disorder. Some of the weaker topical steroids like corticosteroids can be purchased over the counter, but for the most part steroids have to be prescribed and monitored by a doctor.

Medicines and Alternatives Commonly Used for Psoriasis

While steroid creams make up the bulk of psoriasis options, they are not the only products available to psoriasis patients. Here is a quick overview of just some of the choices that might be right for you:

  • Phototherapy - For the past 80 years, patients have been successfully dealing with their psoriasis with ultraviolet rays and sunlight. One of the oldest forms of phototherapy involves ultraviolet B or UVB. A newer twist on this option is called narrow band UVB and is more effective although it is not known if it is as safe as the older method. Lasers are another form of phototherapy for psoriasis as well as a form of light process called PUVA. In this form of psoriasis relief, the patient takes a pill and then is exposed to UVA. While this option is very effective, it is also known to contribute to the development of skin cancers.
  • Methotrexate - Is an oral medication that was developed for use in chemotherapy. It is usually administered once a week and is quite effective. The downside of this medication is that it can build hepatic toxicity if it is not monitored closely.
  • Cyclosporin - This is a medication that has many side effects and is normally used only in severe cases or as a last resort after other options have failed.

Since many of these medications have risks and side effects that can potentially cause a great deal of harm to the patient, it is not uncommon for doctors to revolve or rotate prescribed options. This lessens the risk of developing side effects since the patient is not exposed to only one method for a long period of time. Some of the options mentioned above will also actually contradict the side effects caused by other medications. So a cycle of medications, along with topical steroids, and phototherapy can be ideal for a good number of patients.

Newer medications will hopefully eliminate the need for rotating choices by providing an effective course of action without the fear of side effects if the medications are taken for a long period of time.

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