To take control of your psoriasis treatment, you need to form a strong partnership with your doctor and care team, including nurses and other health care providers. After all you and your health care providers are part of the same team, and you're all working toward a common set of goals: clearing up your psoriasis plaques and improving your quality of life – and like any team, you and your doctor need to communicate honestly and openly.
Be honest about your feelings and treatment expectations
Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about your psoriasis treatment. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms, how you feel your current treatment is working for you, treatments that interest you, whether you're satisfied with the current treatments, and questions you have about any aspect of your treatment plan. Also, remember to talk about whether the medication can be covered by your insurance plan. If you're not upfront about what you're feeling and what you want out of treatment, your doctor will have a harder time finding a psoriasis treatment that's satisfying for you.
Ask your family doctor if you should see a dermatologist
Your family doctor can do many things and treating psoriasis is one of them. However, there may be a time when you may want to consider seeing a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a medical specialist with extensive training in diagnosing and treating skin, nail, and hair conditions. If you do ask for a referral, let your family doctor know that you appreciate their expertise and that they will continue to play an important role in your health care, but you want to manage your psoriasis with a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis.
When to ask your doctor for a referral to a dermatologist who specializes in psoriasis:
- You have tried a psoriasis treatment but it's not working to your satisfaction or expectations.
- Use the Treatment Check-up tool to find out if it's time to see your doctor about your psoriasis treatment.
- Use the Treatment Option Table to be aware of the other available alternatives.
- You have moderate or severe psoriasis.
- Consult the DLQI (Dermatology Life Quality Index) to figure out how psoriasis has impacted your quality of life.
- Your psoriasis has a great impact on your quality of life.
- Use the Psoriasis Questionnaire to find out what kind of impact psoriasis has on your quality of life.
- You have psoriasis on sensitive areas such as your face, scalp, hands, feet, or skin folds.
- You have certain types of psoriasis that are not as common or are more difficult to treat (e.g., generalized erythrodermic psoriasis, generalized pustular psoriasis).
Dermatologists have extensive knowledge about all psoriasis treatments, including topical medications, systemic treatments, and light therapy. You can use the Dermatologist Finder to find one near you.
Pharmacists can provide assistance with obtaining funding through your insurance provider for the various treatments. They can also be a source of information for your drug-related questions.
Nurse practitioners may also be available as a part of your psoriasis care team. They are often nurses who have extensive practical experience in managing the condition and can provide valuable real-life suggestions in coping with the condition and how to minimize its impact in your daily life.
Paying for psoriasis treatment
Treatment for psoriasis may be paid for by private (e.g., your employer) and public (e.g., provincial or federal) health insurance plans. These health insurance plans usually have a formulary that includes their own list of medications that they will pay for.
It's important to know your health insurance coverage plan and what drugs you get reimbursed for. In most cases, your psoriasis treatment will likely be covered by your drug plan.
However, for some newer or more expensive medications such as biologics, your drug plan may require you to meet specific requirements before they cover the cost of your treatment. For example, they may require you to try other treatments first for a specific amount of time, then have your doctor fill in a special form available from the insurance company before they fund your medication.
Check with your health insurance plan to see if your psoriasis treatment is covered or if there are any special requirements. To help make the process easier and to avoid any delays, let your doctor know you may need his or her help in securing reimbursement for your psoriasis treatment.