Topical treatments for psoriasis

There are many topical treatments available for psoriasis. Some, such as coal tar and salicylic acid, have been used for over 100 years. Creams containing corticosteroids have been used for at least 70 years. Topical treatments are rubbed directly into the affected areas to provide local relief. They have less risk of body-wide side effects compared to the ones taken by mouth or a shot. Topical treatments include:

Coal tar: Coal tar helps reduce scaling, itching and inflammation. It is available over-the-counter or by prescription in various forms, such as shampoo and ointments. Some people are vulnerable to the side effects, especially skin irritation. Coal tar products can be messy, stain clothing and have an unpleasant odor.

Salicylic acid: Some doctors recommend salicylic acid ointment, which reduces the scaling of scalp psoriasis. However, using salicylic acid over large areas of skin may cause your body to absorb too much of the medication, leading to side effects. It may also cause skin irritation and weaken hair shafts, which can cause breakage and temporary hair loss. It can be used alone, or in combination with other medications to penetrate the skin better.

Steroids: Steroids are the most frequently prescribed medications for treating mild to moderate psoriasis. Steroid-based medications work by reducing the skin inflammation that accompanies psoriasis. They are available in various forms, including creams, ointments, lotions, and sprays. Your doctor may prescribe different strengths of steroids depending on where you’re applying to.

Calcipotriol: 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 has proven to be effective for treating psoriasis, especially when combined with a topical corticosteroid cream (e.g., calcipotriol/betamethasone). The most common side effect of calcipotriol is skin irritation. This may be less likely with the combination product.

Retinoids: Topical retinoids contain synthetic form of vitamin A. They’re believed to work by controlling skin cell overgrowth and decreasing inflammation. These preparations don't work as quickly as steroids. Topical retinoids can sometimes cause dryness and irritation of the skin. They’re less likely to cause birth defects compared to oral retinoids, but as a precaution, they should not be used during pregnancy. Topical retinoids can increase a person's sensitivity to the sun, so sunscreen and protective clothing are needed. The most common side effects are skin itching, redness, burning, and irritation.

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-Whats-New

Systemic treatments for psoriasis

If topical treatments don’t do enough to control your psoriasis, your doctor may suggest systemic treatments (taken by mouth or a shot). They’re typically used when the skin condition covers more than 5% to 10% of your body and your response to other treatments were not good enough. Systemic treatments include:

Retinoids: Retinoid pills (e.g., acitretin) are used to reduce the overgrowth of skin cells. Side effects include dry skin and muscle soreness. They should not be used in pregnant or breastfeeding women as they can cause birth defects.

Methotrexate: Methotrexate is available as both a pill and an injection. It is usually administered weekly as a single dose. It works by decreasing the production of skin cells and suppressing inflammation. The most common side effects include upset stomach, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you’re taking methotrexate long term, you should get tested regularly to monitor your blood counts and liver function. Men and women should stop taking this medication at least three months before attempting to conceive. It is also not recommended in breastfeeding women.

Cyclosporine: Cyclosporine (Neoral®) is taken orally to treat severe psoriasis. It works by suppressing the immune system. It cannot be used continuously for more than a year and should be avoided in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Like other drugs that act on your immune system, cyclosporine may increase your risk of infection. If you’re taking cyclosporine long term, you should monitor your blood pressure and kidney function regularly.

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-Whats-New

Biologics for psoriasis treatments

While there is no cure for psoriasis yet, the development of biologics has brought about a new era of psoriasis treatment.

Biologics are made from substances found in living things, such as proteins, sugars, or nucleic acids. Once in the body, these medications block a part of the immune system that contributes to your psoriasis symptoms. They are usually administered by injection and used when other medications don’t work the way you want. They fight the causes, rather than just easing the symptoms by acting on a specific part of your 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. Because these drugs affect your immune system, they can raise your chances of a serious infection including tuberculosis. It’s important to consult your doctor to discuss which medication may be right for you.

Examples include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade®), adalimumab (Humira®), ustekinumab (Stelara®), secukinumab (Cosentyx) and ixekizumab (Taltz®). Thanks to recent progress in research, the therapeutic options continue to expand.

Here are a few of the newest biologic therapies for psoriasis.

Risankizumab
Risankizumab-rzaa (Skyrizi™) is an injectable biologic drug that was approved by Health Canada in 2019. It is used for people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy (light therapy) or systemic treatments. It works by blocking interkeukin-23 (IL-23), a group of chemicals that regulate immune responses. Each dose consists of two subcutaneous injections (under the skin). Common side effects include headache, tiredness, and upper respiratory infections.

Bimekizumab
Bimekizumab is an injectable biologic drug that’s currently undergoing phase III clinical trials. It is being tested as a treatment for chronic plaque psoriasis. It works by blocking IL-17. So far, research data have shown it to be safe and effective. In the BE SURE clinical trial, bimekizumab was more effective than adalimumab (Humira®) at helping study participants achieve at least a 90% improvement in scores used to measure disease severity.

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-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 – 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-Whats-New