About psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, scaly patches called plaques. The plaques are usually covered with silvery or whitish scales, and are often found on the knees, elbows, scalp, face, or lower back. People with psoriasis may have flare-ups where their psoriasis symptoms get worse. Stress, sunburns, allergic reactions, or infections may trigger a flare-up. Psoriasis symptoms may also get worse after stopping treatment with many medications.

Although the average age at diagnosis is 28 years, people may get psoriasis at any age. The cause of psoriasis is not known, but certain immune system cells known as T cells are believed to be involved. T cells are responsible for attacking foreign invaders in the body and for "activating" other immune system cells. There is also a genetic component to psoriasis: if psoriasis runs in your family, your risk may be increased.

A variety of treatments are available for psoriasis, including medications and phototherapy. Phototherapy uses ultraviolet light to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis.

Medication options include topical therapy, which is applied to the skin, and systemic therapy, which is given by mouth or by injection. Topical therapy includes coal tar, corticosteroids, calcipotriol, tazarotene, anthralin, salicylic acid, and calcineurin inhibitors. Systemic therapy, which is used for moderate to severe cases of psoriasis, includes oral medications (acitretin, apremilast, cyclosporine, and methotrexate) and biologics. There are several biologics available in Canada, and more biologics are currently in development for the treatment of psoriasis.

If you have any questions about psoriasis or its treatment, speak to your dermatologist, doctor, or pharmacist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. 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/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Biologics

Biologics: the basics

While most medications are made by putting chemicals together, biologics are created by living human and animal cells. Biologics are proteins that work by changing interactions between cells that are causing the condition or disease. They can be tailor-made to treat a variety of different conditions. Although biologics have been around for decades, biologics designed to treat psoriasis are new.

Psoriasis is believed to be caused by an overactivity of certain immune system cells called T cells and messenger cells. It starts when some T cells receive a false message that makes them become "activated," move to the skin, and behave as if they were fighting an infection. This causes the skin to become inflamed (red, warm, irritated) and to overproduce skin cells. The extra skin cells build up and form plaques.

Biologics for psoriasis target only those parts of the immune system that are overactive. Some work by stopping T cells from becoming activated and/or from moving to the skin, or by reducing the number of activated T cells. Other biologics work by blocking immune system messengers involved in skin cell overproduction.

Unlike most of the oral medications to treat psoriasis, biologics do not work by suppressing the immune system in general. Instead, they act specifically on the areas that are overactive. This may decrease the risk of infection, liver damage, and kidney damage. Another difference between some biologics and other psoriasis treatments is that the effects of some biologics (those that inhibit T cells that cause psoriasis), continue after the treatment has been stopped. This allows people to take "drug holidays" where they do not have to use the medication.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. 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/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Biologics

Biologics for psoriasis

There are currently four classes of biologics available for the treatment of psoriasis:

  • Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) inhibitors: adalimumab (Humira®), certolizumab (Cimzia®), etanercept (Enbrel®), infliximab (Remicade®)
  • Interleukin-12/interleukin-23 (IL-12/IL-23) inhibitors: ustekinumab
  • Interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitors: secukinumab (Cosentyx®), ixekizumab (Taltz®), brodalumab (Siliq)
  • Interleukin-23 (IL-23) inhibitors: tildrakizumab (Ilumya), Risankizusmab (Skyziri), and guselkumab (Tremfya®)

Biologics may also improve a person's quality of life (calculated using a questionnaire about how happy and healthy a person is feeling). Biologics that inhibit T cells that cause psoriasis also allow for a treatment-free period. Since the effects of biologics last even after the medication is stopped, people with psoriasis can take "drug holidays" in between treatment periods. This may reduce the risk of side effects and also frees the person from taking regular drug treatment.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. 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/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Biologics

Who is a candidate for biologics?

Biologics are used for people with moderate to severe psoriasis. They may also help people who cannot use other drugs or treatments, for example those who have had an allergic reaction to another psoriasis medication. Eligibility for treatment with biologics depends on the medication used. Biologics are given by injection.

For more information, contact your dermatologist.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. 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/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Biologics