What to Know about Psoriasis Systemic Treatments

If you have moderate or severe psoriasis, systemic treatments can be very helpful. Systemic treatments are designed to treat the whole body rather than just the symptoms of psoriasis. To be eligible for this approach, you will need to meet specific criteria.

Who Can Benefit?

To begin, your doctor will look at the history of your psoriasis symptoms and how other treatment methods have worked for you in the past. Psoriasis sufferers that have experienced little or no success with other types of treatments, such as phototherapy, and who have psoriasis over more than 10 percent of their body are eligible for systemic treatment.

Psoriasis systemic treatments focus on using medications that reduce the immune system response that causes psoriasis symptoms. Common medications used include methotrexate and cyclosporine, both well-known immunosuppressants. There are also other medications used, including infliximab. The category of drugs used can vary depending on the severity of psoriasis symptoms, previous health, and your response to treatments.

Risks and Results

Using systemic treatments for psoriasis is riskier than using traditional treatments. Some medications used to treat severe psoriasis require regular liver testing to ensure that the medications aren’t interfering with liver function. It is also important to avoid becoming pregnant while using the medications prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you plan on becoming pregnant.

The results of using medications will vary from patient to patient. Most people will see a reduction in the symptoms of psoriasis within a short time of beginning treatment. Since the medications can have serious side effects, long-term use typically isn’t recommended unless symptoms are serious enough to interfere with daily activities. The cost of some medications can exceed $20,000 annually, which can also factor into the decision to use systemic treatments as a long-term therapy for psoriasis.

Getting Started

The first step in seeking help for serious psoriasis symptoms is talking to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss treatment options to help you find a long-term treatment solution. Since psoriasis is currently incurable, you will need to receive treatment that includes traditional therapies. Medications, light therapy, and topical treatments are all used in the long-term treatment of psoriasis.

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