Are You Prepared for Long-Term Psoriasis Treatment?
Psoriasis treatments aren't a quick fix. No medicines will make your psoriasis vanish forever. "We have treatments for psoriasis, but not cures," says Murase. "I think there's a natural tendency over time for people's psoriasis to wax and wane." Your psoriasis may go into a sort of remission, only to pop back up a few months later.
You may need to keep taking your medicine for many years. "We could potentially stop the treatments, but then the disease would gradually come back," Lebwohl says. Just like diabetes, psoriasis is a disease that needs to be treated long-term.
Stopping your treatment can also make some drugs less effective. When you stop taking biologic drugs, your body can develop antibodies to them. Then when you start taking the drugs again, they won't work as well. Patients who stay on their drugs are less likely to develop antibodies.
Will You Do Your Part as an Informed Patient?
No matter which psoriasis treatment you use, you need to play your part too. First, you have to take your medicine exactly as your doctor prescribed. "If you don't take your medicine, expect it not to work," says Lebwohl.
You also need to keep in close touch with your doctor.
- Visit your doctor for regular checkups, especially if you're taking a drug (such as a biologic) that suppresses your immune system. You'll need to be tested for tuberculosis and other infections.
- Call your doctor if you have any side effects from your medicine, especially if they're serious or don't go away.
- Also call if you've been on a treatment for a few months and it doesn't seem to be working.