Treatment for psoriasis
No medication is currently available that completely cures psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. By formulating a treatment plan in consultation with a doctor and the Community Health Centre, all affected individuals receive the help they need to optimally improve their symptoms. An individually adapted treatment plan creates good prospects for a good life. Treatment methods may vary greatly among individuals, since psoriasis can manifest in both mild and severe forms. Doctors find the right treatment by considering the age and general health of the patient, as well as the severity of the disease. It is important to seek medical attention for persistent lesions that are dry, red and scaly.
Psoriasis is characterised by flare-ups, which means that symptoms are sometimes worse and sometimes better. With time, individuals with psoriasis learn how their bodies respond, which helps to identify the best methods to alleviate the symptoms. It is not always easy to know exactly which treatment is most effective for patients recently diagnosed with psoriasis. It is therefore important to test a single treatment for a substantial period of time to see whether the method helps.
Different treatment methods
Regardless of the severity of psoriasis, it is essential for each active treatment to soften the lesions in order to achieve optimal effect. Lesions should be softened with regular use of skin-softening creams or ointments, as well as baths or saunas.
Different treatment methods:
– Prescription creams and ointments
– Phototherapy (UVB or PUVA therapy)
– Systemic treatment (tablets, injections, i.v. infusions)
– Bucky therapy
For patients who suffer from a mild form of psoriasis, moisturising the skin with simple creams and regular exfoliation in the bath or sauna may be sufficient. More severe psoriasis requires the use of ointments and creams containing cortisone and/or vitamin D. When local treatment does not provide adequate relief, doctors recommend phototherapy with ultraviolet rays or a combination of phototherapy and tablets known as PUVA therapy, in cases where phototherapy is inadequate. In severe psoriasis, systemic treatment with tablets or injections is an option. This step-up approach is used to incrementally find the option that works for each patient without subjecting the body to unnecessary stress. At a later stage, patients can return to certain methods and combine options to achieve maximum effect and reduce side effects.
Prescription creams and ointments are effective for many patients
Most individuals affected by psoriasis exclusively use prescription creams or ointments or combine them with other options. Topical therapy with creams or ointments is the most common treatment for psoriasis. To relieve symptoms, individuals must regularly and thoroughly apply the cream or ointment to the areas where the lesions are found. Regular baths or saunas are recommended to remove flaking and to facilitate the action of the medication.
Cortisone-based creams or ointments are usually used for mild to moderate psoriasis. Drugs based on cortisone are fast-acting and do not stain the skin. Regular application keeps the symptoms at bay. Since no drug is currently available that completely cures psoriasis, the problems will come back within a couple of weeks if patients stop applying the creams.
In addition to cortisone-based creams and ointments, products containing vitamin D are also used. They take a little longer than cortisone-based drugs to start working, but the effect also last longer. Some medicines are also available that contain both vitamin D and cortisone.
Site updated 2016-01-12