PsoriasisNet Article
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 needs.

Before the appointment

  1. Find a dermatologist whom you feel will help you with your psoriasis. To locate a dermatologist in your area, visit:

  2. 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:

    • Am I 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 for me?

    • Do I wish my treatment was more effective?

    • Is something I’ve read or heard about psoriasis concerning me?

    • Have any new symptoms appeared that I want to discuss with the doctor?

    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.

  3. 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 expectations.

    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 needs.

During the appointment

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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 your treatment.

  3. 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 isolation:

    • Try 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.

    • Think 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 support group.

    • Consider 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 psoriasis.

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.

More Information
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
Overview of these conditions and treatment options

Treatment
Dermatologist-reviewed information about treatment options for psoriasis

References:
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 www.harrisi.org/news/allnewsbydate.asp?NewsID=904.
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.


 

Looking for quick-and-easy ways to find out when new information about psoriasis is posted by the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy)? By subscribing to Skin E-News, the Academy's free monthly e-newsletter, you can quickly scan the headlines to see what is new. To subscribe, visit Free e-newsletter Delivers Dermatologists' Expertise to Your Inbox.

 

     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2011  All rights reserved.
 

Page last updated 2/21/08

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