Psoriasis is a chronic, genetic condition for which there is no cure. Patients with psoriasis suffer from thick, silvery skin lesions that may get red, scale and become very itchy. About a third of the patients also suffer from psoriasis arthritis – a type of joint disease than can destroy joints over time if not treated. That’s the bad news…
The good news is that there are many medications that can be used to treat psoriasis, and there are about to be more option.
For mild psoriasis, topical creams are the treatment of choice. Most of these are steroids, although non-steroidal creams are also available. Patients used to not like using these because most of the creams were greasy ointments that would stain clothes, feel sticky and take forever to dry. Luckily, there are lots of new formulations that are more cosmetically elegant – lotions, foams, sprays and less greasy creams.
For patients with moderate disease, there is a new oral medication – a pill called OTEZLA. It’s a very good option that’s does not require injection and requires little to no laboratory monitoring. Other options, such as light therapy are also still available.
For patients with severe disease there are biologics – a group of medicines that are injected in a similar way to insulin. Many options are available – ENBREL, HUMIRA, STELARA are currently approved. A new first in class medication called COSENTYX should be approved any day. All these medicines work but may not be the right option for every patient.
But the good news is that we are making improvements and can help more and more psoriasis patients every day.
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Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg