New topical treatments for psoriasis

There are many topical treatments available for psoriasis. Some, such as coal tar and anthralin, have been a mainstay of psoriasis treatment for over 100 years. Creams containing corticosteroids have been used for at least 50 years. Salicylic acid is newer than coal tar or anthralin, but is still among the older psoriasis treatments. Calcipotriol, calcipotriol plus betamethasone, and tazarotene are a few of the newer topical treatments for psoriasis.

Calcipotriol is a synthetic form of vitamin D. It works by helping to control the skin cell overgrowth that leads to symptoms of psoriasis. It is available as a cream, an ointment, and a scalp lotion. Betamethasone is a corticosteroid. It works by reducing the skin inflammation (redness, soreness) that accompanies psoriasis. It is available as a cream, an ointment, and a scalp lotion. The calcipotriol/betamethasone combination product is available as an ointment. Calcipotriol is applied twice daily to start, then reduced to once daily when the treatment has started to work. Calcipotriol/betamethasone is applied once daily to the affected areas.

Calcipotriol usually begins to work after 2 weeks of treatment, with maximum effects seen after 6-8 weeks of treatment. The combination product works more quickly. It takes about one week to show a major improvement, and maximum effects are seen in about 4 weeks. Once the psoriasis clears up, calcipotriol or calcipotriol/betamethasone can be stopped.

Most people can safely use calcipotriol and calcipotriol/betamethasone. But people who are allergic to the medications should not use them. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should check with their doctor, as it is not known whether these medications are safe in these situations.

The most common side effect of calcipotriol is skin irritation. This may be less likely with the combination product. Allergic reactions can also occur. If very large areas of the body (especially those with broken skin) are treated, blood calcium levels may increase. Depending on your situation, the doctor may use regular blood tests to make sure your calcium stays at a safe level.

Tazarotene is part of a group of medications called retinoids. It is related to vitamin A. It is believed to work by controlling skin cell overgrowth and decreasing inflammation.

Tazarotene comes as a cream and a gel and is applied once daily. It starts to work in about a week, and most people see some improvement in their symptoms after 12 weeks of treatment. Treatment can be stopped after the psoriasis clears up.

Tazarotene should not be used during pregnancy, as it can cause birth defects. It should not be used by people who are allergic to tazarotene or who have a skin condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. It is not known whether tazarotene is safe during breast-feeding. Tazarotene can increase a person's sensitivity to the sun, so sunscreen and protective clothing are needed. The most common side effects of tazarotene are skin itching, redness, burning, and irritation. Less often, tazarotene may cause skin pain, skin peeling, rash, dry skin, stinging, and high blood levels of a certain type of fat called triglycerides.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. 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-Whats-New

New systemic treatments for psoriasis

A new group of medications, called biologics, is available to treat moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis. Biologics are different from other types of medications in that they are made from living cells. Biologics work by acting on the immune system. They decrease the activity of immune system cells known as T cells. These cells become overactive in psoriasis, leading to uncontrolled skin cell growth, which causes the plaques and scales that accompany psoriasis. Biologics treat psoriasis by helping to control skin cell growth.

Biologics zero in on the part of the immune system that directly affects the psoriasis. . This makes them more selective than immunosuppressants (a group of medications including cyclosporine and methotrexate), which decrease the activity of the immune system in general.

The first biologic available in Canada for the treatment of psoriasis is alefacept. It is given once a week by intramuscular (into a muscle) injection. People can usually learn to self-inject at home. The usual treatment period is 12 weeks. On average, alefacept can give people an 8-month remission.

The most common side effects of alefacept are headache, runny nose, and sore throat. Less commonly, it may cause dizziness; nausea; and bleeding, swelling, or a lump at the injection area. More serious and rare side effects include infection, liver problems, and allergic reactions. It is not known whether alfeacept is safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. 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-Whats-New

New research on psoriasis treatments

What are researchers doing to find a psoriasis cure? Here are a few of the hottest new research areas.

Infections as triggers
We already know that a strep throat infection can bring on one type of psoriasis (guttate psoriasis). But could other infections be involved? Scientists are examining the role of many different bacteria and viruses, such as papillomaviruses, Staphylococcus, and Malassezia furfur, to see whether they could be triggers for psoriasis. Once we know which infections are triggers, treatments and screening tests can be developed to help prevent and control psoriasis.

Genetic research
In psoriasis, skin cells in the affected areas grow out of control, leading to scaly patches. Researchers are identifying the genes that are involved in uncontrolled skin cell growth. The goal is then to develop treatments that target these genes and help keep skin cell growth under control.

Fine-tuning the immune system
The immune system plays a complex role in psoriasis. Older treatments targeted the whole immune system, which can increase the risk of infections. Understanding which parts of the immune system are involved in psoriasis will help in developing treatments that target only the problem areas. Biologics are one example of targeted treatment. They act on the T-cells, which are overactive in psoriasis. Researchers are also looking for other new targets. One promising target is the cytokines. Cytokines are the chemical messengers that immune system cells use to communicate. Targeting the cytokines could produce a fine-tuned treatment with fewer side effects.

Attacking the supply lines
In order to grow, skin cells need a blood supply. Scientists are working on treatments that could block new blood vessels from forming in areas affected by psoriasis. By stopping new blood vessels from forming in these areas, skin cell growth could be brought under control. This could help treat psoriasis.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. 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-Whats-New

Don't suffer from psoriasis in silence

 
 
Not sure whether you might have psoriasis?

Here are some common psoriasis symptoms:

  • bright red, raised patches covered with silvery scales on the skin or scalp
  • itching of the skin or scalp
  • nail changes (such as yellowing or pits)

This list does not include all possible psoriasis symptoms, and not all people with these symptoms have psoriasis. Only a doctor can tell for sure. If you think you might have psoriasis, get it checked by your doctor. You don't have to put up with the symptoms - psoriasis can be treated!

Is your psoriasis out of control?
Talking to your doctor or pharmacist can help you get to the bottom of what's going on. Here are some reasons why your psoriasis might be acting up:

  • Some treatments take weeks or months to work. The effects of your treatment may not have "kicked in" yet. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if there is anything you can do to bridge the gap until your treatment starts to work.
  • Certain triggers can make psoriasis symptoms flare up. Everyone has different triggers, but some common triggers include skin injuries, stress, cold dry weather, medications, and hormonal changes. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to help you identify your triggers.
  • Your treatment may not be strong enough to handle your psoriasis, or your psoriasis may have become worse since you were first diagnosed. There are different treatments for mild, moderate, and severe psoriasis. If your treatment doesn't seem to be working, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you need a stronger treatment (which could mean changing medications or adding another medication).

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you take control of your psoriasis. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to get in touch with them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. 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-Whats-New