Psoriasis Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are many treatment options that can clear psoriasis for a period of time. Each treatment has advantages and disadvantages, and what works for one patient may not be effective for another. Board-certified dermatologists have the medical training and experience needed to determine the most appropriate treatments for each patient.

Diagnosis
There are several forms of psoriasis, and each form has unique characteristics that allow dermatologists to visually identify psoriasis to determine what type, or types, of psoriasis is present. Sometimes a skin biopsy will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

To choose the most appropriate treatment method, dermatologists consider several factors:

  • Type of psoriasis

  • Severity (the amount of skin affected)

  • Where psoriasis is located

  • Patient’s age and medical history

  • Effects psoriasis has on patient’s overall physical and emotional
    well-being

Types of Treatment
Psoriasis treatments fall into 3 categories:

  • Topical (applied to the skin) – Mild to moderate psoriasis

  • Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – Moderate to severe psoriasis

  • Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis

While each of these therapies is effective, there are also drawbacks.

Some topicals are messy and may stain clothing and skin. Phototherapy can require 2 to 5 weekly visits to a dermatologist’s office or psoriasis clinic for several weeks. Many of the systemic medications have serious side effects and must be combined or rotated with other therapies to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects. Research is being conducted to find therapies that provide safe, effective, easy-to-use treatment options that provide long-term relief.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
 

For an overview, visit the AAD pamphlet Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis.

There are different types of psoriasis treatment:

Medicine Applied to the Skin

Lasers and Other Light Therapies

Biologics

Medicine that Works throughout the Body

Other Medications


 
 
 

 

     © American Academy of Dermatology, 2011  All rights reserved.
 

Page last updated 2/17/10

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