Psoriasis Treatment: Medicine
Treatment of psoriasis is usually a series of steps, called the 1-2-3 approach, which entails:
- Step 1 – Topical: Sunlight or medication applied directly to the surface of the skin. Topical medications include corticosteroids, retinoids, calcipotriene, anthralin, and salicylic acid.
- Step 2 – Phototherapy: Phototherapy (or “light treatment”) using ultraviolet light alone or in combination with medication.
- Step 3 – Systemic: Medicines taken internally (usually oral medication) to treat psoriasis systemically. A variety of medications are used to treat psoriasis: antineoplastics, immunosuppressive agents, oral retinoids, and biologic response modifiers.
Your treatment will be based on several factors, including:
- The severity of the disease
- The extent and location of the areas involved
- Your responsiveness to each treatment
- What type of psoriasis you have
- Possible concomitant presence of psoriatic arthritis
Generally you will start with medications that are mildest and have the fewest side effects, and then gradually move to the next level of medication, if needed. Often, the body will become resistant to certain types of treatment, and they will lose their effectiveness. When this happens, new treatment methods may be prescribed, and future treatments may be added as needed.
Effect of Antineoplastics on Psoriasis
Antineoplastics treat psoriasis by interfering with certain types of skin cell growth, thus slowing the process of psoriasis cell reproduction.
Read more about Psoriasis and Antineoplastics.
Effect of Immunosuppressive Agents on Psoriasis
The exact cause of psoriasis has not been determined, but current theories suggest that it may be a disorder of the immune system. Immunosuppressive agents help control the immune response that may...
Read more about Psoriasis and Immunosuppressive Agents.
Effect of Retinoids on Psoriasis
Tazarotene is a topical retinoid that is used in psoriasis treatment to help reduce skin reddening and reduce the size and number of lesions. It may be prescribed alone or in conjunction with topical...
Read more about Psoriasis and Retinoids.
Effect of Topical Medications on Psoriasis
Topical medications for psoriasis work through various mechanisms. See individual medicines for more information: Corticosteroids Calcipotriene Anthralin Salicylic acid
Read more about Psoriasis and Topical Medications.
Effect of Biologic Response Modifiers on Psoriasis
Biologic response modifiers treat psoriasis by blocking the action of TNF, a pro-inflammatory cytokine implicated in the development of psoriasis, or by inhibiting inflammatory cell activation in the...
Read more about Psoriasis and Biologic Response Modifiers.
Effect of Phototherapy on Psoriasis
Exposure to light can suppress the immune system (activated T cells) in the skin, thus reducing inflammation and slowing the rapid growth of skin cells, two common symptoms of psoriasis. Phototherapy...
Read more about Psoriasis and Phototherapy.