Treatment of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic immune mediated skin disease. It is a fairly common skin disease and affects large number of people. The main pathology in psoriasis is speeding up of the growth cycle of skin cells and as a result skin turn over is increased (i.e. normal skin turn over time of approximately 28 days become less than that) and there is also plaque formation occurs.

There are various treatment options available for treatment of psoriasis. If a disease does not have specific and effective treatment, number of different treatment options is generally available for that particular disease and unfortunately none of the treatment options can cure the disease and none of these generally give high satisfaction. The same is true in case of psoriasis too, as it is a chronic disease without any cure; hence there are several treatment options available. Some of the treatment modalities can be helpful and can improve quality of life.

The options available for treatment of psoriasis include use of topical agents, use of systemic agents, phototherapy, use of alternative therapy etc.

Topical agents for treatment of psoriasis:

Several different topical agents are available for treatment of psoriasis, such as petroleum jelly, coal tar, moisturizers, mineral oil, dithranol, salicylic acid, corticosteroids, vitamin D etc. Different preparations act in a different way, for example petroleum jelly, moisturizers etc. act by soothing effect on skin and reduce the dryness. Medicated creams and ointments (containing corticosteroids, dithranol etc.) applied directly to psoriatic plaques reduce inflammation, remove built-up scale, reduce skin turn over, and clear affected skin of plaques.

Phototherapy in treatment of psoriasis:

Wavelengths of 311–313 nm are most effective and special lamps are available which produce this wavelength. PUVA (psoralens and ultraviolet A) phototherapy combines psoralens (oral or topical) and ultraviolet A. But long term phototherapy may cause skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma but not melanoma).

Systemic agents for treatment of psoriasis:

When topical agents and phototherapy fail to elicit any response, systemic agents are used for treatment of psoriasis. The systemic agents are toxic and need regular blood and liver function tests to monitor side effects. There are three systemic agents used for treatment of psoriasis, which are methotraxate, cyclosporine and retinoids. The first two (methotraxate and cyclosporine) are immunosuppressant drugs and retinoids are synthetic forms of vitamin A.

There are other systemic agents which are also used for treatment of psoriasis, such as efalizumab (monoclonal antibody), Ustekinumab, TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) etc.

Alternative medicine in treatment of psoriasis:

Various agents are used for treatment of psoriasis, such as cod liver oil, vitamin E etc.

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  • David@heartburn cures August 12, 2011 01.01 am

    Since this disease is caused by the immune system, I will think take some supplement (e.g vitamin C) to improve the immune system can assist the healing as well

    • admin August 12, 2011 01.54 am

      Yes we can supplement vitamin C for improving immune system and also to improve healing.