Is Your Psoriasis Treatment Working?
Some treatment side effects are mild, like skin redness or peeling. Others can be serious, including the chance of infections. Stronger medicines and larger doses may help control your psoriasis better, but they can cause more side effects.
"There's always a balance between the safety of treatments and the effectiveness of treatments," Lebwohl says.
Sometimes side effects can make you want to stop taking a drug. You and your doctor have to decide whether the result of any treatment is worth the risks.
Long-Term Psoriasis Treatment
Like diabetes and asthma, psoriasis is a lifelong disease. "We have treatments for psoriasis, but not cures," Murase says.
You'll need to keep taking your medicine, possibly for many years. "We could potentially stop the treatments, but then the disease would gradually come back," Lebwohl says.
Stopping and restarting your treatment can make it less effective. For example, when you stop taking a biologic drug, your body's immune system could develop a defense against it. If you start taking the same drug again, it might not work as well.
Even while you're taking medication, your psoriasis could flare up. "I think there's a natural tendency over time for people's psoriasis to wax and wane," Murase says.
Play Your Part
No psoriasis treatment will work without you. Follow your doctor's instructions. "If you don't take your medicine, expect it not to work," Lebwohl says.
Keep in close touch with your doctor. Visit regularly for checkups, especially if you're taking a drug (such as a biologic) that shuts down your immune system. You'll need tests for tuberculosis and other infections.
Let your doctor know if you have any side effects from your medicine, especially when they're serious or don't go away.
And speak up when your treatment isn't working as well as you and your doctor had hoped.