Psoriasis Control: Teaming Up with a Dermatologist Can Help
A dermatologist can be your strongest ally in your battle to control
psoriasis. Dermatologists are among the first to know about research
advances in psoriasis and generally offer more treatment options to
help control this condition. The following explains what you can do
to team up with a dermatologist to find treatment that meets your
Before the appointment
Find a dermatologist whom you feel will help
you with your psoriasis. To locate a dermatologist in your
Ask yourself what you want to get out of the
appointment. While a dermatologist is the specialist in
treating conditions that affect the hair, skin, and nails, only
you know what concerns you. Before the appointment, ask yourself
what you want to gain from this visit. Some questions you may
want to ask yourself include:
satisfied with my current treatment plan?
Am I having
problems following the treatment plan?
Do I want
to know if another medication or therapy may be appropriate
Do I wish
my treatment was more effective?
something I’ve read or heard about psoriasis concerning me?
new symptoms appeared that I want to discuss with the
Communicating your concerns can help your
dermatologist plan or modify treatment so that it meets your
needs. If you think you will need extra time with your doctor,
call the office and ask for it.
Find out if you have unrealistic expectations.
Ads can be misleading. Products do not work overnight. Despite
advances, there is still no cure for psoriasis. No cream, diet,
or herbal remedy exists that can cure psoriasis. Claims that
psoriasis control can be quick and easy often create unrealistic
If you feel disappointed by the results you see, be sure to
mention this during your next appointment. Unmet expectations
and poor results can leave one feeling frustrated and depressed.
By seeing a dermatologist and talking about your expectations,
most patients are able to find a treatment plan that meets their
During the appointment
Have an open mind. Research advances have
changed psoriasis treatment. More treatments are available.
Doctors are combining therapies because research shows that some
therapies often are much more effective together than either is
alone. Today, there are systemic (circulates throughout the body
because it is taken as a pill, injection, or infusion)
treatments that can be used long-term.
These research gains have helped more people achieve control
over their psoriasis.
Tell your dermatologist if you have trouble
with the treatment plan. If you have trouble using a therapy
or taking a medication as prescribed, you are not alone. A
Harris online survey conducted in 2005 found that 64% of those
who had received prescriptions in the last 12 months said they
sometimes forgot to take their medication. Other reasons for not
taking the medication as directed included symptoms went away
(36%), wanted to save money (35%), and did not believe the drug
was effective (33%). Like polls have found similar results.
If you have any concerns about the treatment plan or trouble
following it, be sure to tell your dermatologist.
Listen closely. Doctors often tell their
patients essential information about following a treatment plan,
potential side effects, and what to expect. Listening closely
can help you get the full benefit of the treatment plan.
Write it down. Patients do forget
important information that their doctors give them before they
get home. Having all the information can make a difference in
the success of your treatment plan. Be sure to take notes.
After the appointment
Be an informed patient. Continuing to
learn about psoriasis and its treatment options can help you
better manage the condition, ask informed questions when you see
your dermatologist, and work with your dermatologist to find a
treatment plan that meets your needs.
Keep follow-up visits. Follow-up visits
are scheduled to monitor your progress, make sure that you are
taking the medication correctly, and adjust the dose if needed.
This also is your opportunity to ask questions. Even if you are
feeling discouraged, be sure to keep follow-up appointments.
What you learn may make a difference in the effectiveness of
Do not isolate yourself. People living
with psoriasis often say they feel isolated and alone. These
feelings can cause stress. For many, stress can make psoriasis
flare. The following may help reduce stress and feelings of
sharing your experiences with family and friends.
Talking with friends and family and letting them know how
psoriasis affects you can help them understand the
challenges you face every day. Many people are unaware that
living with psoriasis can be difficult.
about joining a support group. Having psoriasis can be
physically and emotionally challenging. Meeting with others
who are living with the challenges of psoriasis can lift
your spirits, improve self-confidence, and give you insight.
Your dermatologist may be able to direct you to a psoriasis
seeing a psychotherapist. A psychotherapist is a medical
professional who has experience helping people overcome
feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.
Psychotherapy can help people achieve a more satisfying
life. A dermatologist may be able to help you find a
psychotherapist who has experience treating people with
Living with psoriasis presents daily challenges.
Teaming up with a dermatologist and taking an active role in your
treatment can help relieve some of the discomfort and anxiety.
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Overview of these conditions and treatment options
Dermatologist-reviewed information about treatment options for
1. Harris Interactive. Prescription Drug Compliance a Significant
Challenge for Many Patients, According to New National Survey. News
release issued March 29, 2005. Last accessed February 5, 2008 at
2. Haynes BR, McDonald HP, Garg AX. Helping Patients Follow
Prescribed Treatment. The Journal of the American Medical
Association. 2002; 288:2880-83.
3. Lowes R. Patient-Centered Care for Better Patient Adherence.
Family Practice Management. 1998; 5:46-57.
All content solely
developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
While psoriasis cannot be
cured, medical breakthroughs are giving patients more
treatment options to help them control psoriasis.
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ways to find out when new information about psoriasis is
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