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Treatment options include UV light therapy (phototherapy), regular use of moisturizers, oral tablets, and medicated creams as well as biologic or systemic medications. The type of treatment that works best depends on the severity of the disease.

For example, if the flare-up is limited to a certain part of the body (e.g., the elbow), topical treatments or UV light therapy may be the ideal treatment. When the disease is widespread or negatively affecting an individual’s quality of life, a healthcare provider or specialist may prescribe injectable medications or oral tablets.

Treatment Options

When psoriasis is mild, self-treatment may be possible. These self-treatments can include using an anti-dandruff shampoo, regularly moisturizing the affected areas, and spending time in the sun. At some point, most individuals with the condition will need medically supervised therapy.

Moderate to severe forms typically require a combination of treatments. For example, healthcare providers may prescribe topical treatments in conjunction with UV light therapy. When psoriasis significantly impacts an individual’s quality of life, systemic medications may be necessary.

Regular Moisturizing

When only mild psoriasis is present, moisturizers can reduce the itching and irritation associated with the plaques or lesions.

Topical Therapy (Medicated Creams)

These treatments are frequently the first ones used to address the symptoms associated with mild to moderate cases. The goal of these products is to slow skin cell growth, decrease inflammation, and soothe any discomfort.

Systemic Therapy

Systemic therapies are designed to work with the entire body system, which is why they are reserved for those who have the severest forms of the disease. Possible treatments include the antimetabolite drug methotrexate, the oral vitamin A-like drug acitretin, and the immunosuppressant (immune-suppressing) cyclosporine. These therapies reduce the progression of the disease and disrupt flare-up regularity.

Biologics

Biologics are drugs derived from the protein of living cells. They target the immune proteins that are responsible for the development of psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. Currently, there are 10 biologics that the FDA has approved. These medications include infliximab, etanercept, and adalimumab.

Oral Tablets

There are several by-mouth medications that can help as well.

Cyclosporine

This medication is prescribed to individuals who have undergone an organ transplant. It is designed to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ, which makes it a good option for those with severe forms of this autoimmune disease.

Types of psoriasis that respond to cyclosporine treatment include:

  • Plaque
  • Guttate
  • Pustular
  • Generalized pustular
  • Erythrodermic

Oral Retinoids

People with severe psoriasis may be prescribed this medication. Since oral retinoids do not decrease the immune system’s activity, these drugs originally served as a safer option for treating people with HIV who also had a severe form of psoriasis. Today, oral retinoids can benefit people with every form of psoriasis, except for the inverse variety.

Methotrexate

This medication is ideal for individuals who have tried other treatments to no avail. Patients who receive this drug have such a severe form of psoriasis that it restricts his or her ability to function in daily life.

Methotrexate can treat:

  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Pustular psoriasis
  • Psoriasis affecting the nails
  • Erythroderma

Phototherapy (UV Light Therapy)

This treatment decreases the immune system’s activity, slowing skin cell growth and reducing irritation.

FAQ

What foods trigger psoriasis?

Psoriasis flare-ups can be triggered by processed foods, gluten, plants of the nightshade family, alcoholic beverages, premade desserts, carbohydrates, and processed snack foods.

Can psoriasis be cured permanently?

Unfortunately, psoriasis cannot be cured. It can, however, go into remission. That said, the guttate form of this disease that starts in childhood or young adulthood can go into remission indefinitely.

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