Medications for Moderate to Severe Psoriasis continued...
How it works: It suppresses the immune system and slows the growth of certain immune cells. Cyclosporine is given by capsule or liquid.
Side effects can include flu-like symptoms, headache, high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, sensitive skin, tingling in the arms or legs, upset stomach, fatigue, kidney damage, excess hair growth, kidney damage, and an increased risk for cancer.
What it is: A drug that was first used to treat cancer.
How it works: Methotrexate slows the rate of skin cell growth. Methotrexate can be given by pill, liquid, or injection.
3. Biologic Treatments
What it is: Biologic drugs target the immune response that causes inflammation.
How it works: Biologics block immune cells that are involved in psoriasis. These drugs are given by a shot or by an IV infusion.
Biologic drugs include:
- Ustekinumab (Stelara). This drug blocks cytokines in the body called interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, which are thought to promote the increased growth rate of skin cells and inflammation from psoriasis.
- Secukinumab (Cosentyx). This is an antibody that binds to interkeukin-17A which is also involved in inflammation.
- Tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers, including adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), and infliximab (Remicade). These drugs block a chemical messenger of the immune system called TNF-alpha. People with psoriasis have too much of this substance, which causes inflammation.
You may need to be screened for tuberculosis while taking a biologic drug. You may also need to have regular blood tests to check your number of immune blood cells.