Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Psoriasis Health Center

Font Size

New Hope for the Heartbreak of Psoriasis?

WebMD Health News

March 19, 2001 -- Your skin is scaly, bumpy, red, and itchy. You see your doctor, who diagnoses you with psoriasis. What do you do? If your condition is severe, your options are limited, but research into new drugs is providing new hope.

Psoriasis is a condition in which patches of the skin become inflamed, red, itchy, and topped with silvery white scales. Believed to be caused by a malfunction of the immune system in which the normal growth of skin cells is sped up, psoriasis is both unsightly and uncomfortable. For most people, psoriasis is limited to a few patches, called plaques, usually around the joints, which can be managed fairly well with creams. Those with more severe psoriasis, however, may become almost completely covered with plaques and must take medicines -- either in pill form alone or combined with a form of light therapy -- to control it.

Still, there are few effective remedies for severe psoriasis, and those that exist can cause serious side effects, including liver and kidney damage. Individuals who must take these drugs have to be monitored regularly by their doctors to make sure they are not seriously damaging their internal organs.

The good news is that several new options to treat severe psoriasis are on the horizon. These include improved creams, new drugs, and even laser therapy. One of these new drugs, which will be marketed by its manufacturer, Genentech Inc., as Xanelim, is showing great promise in early research, which was presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 57th Annual Meeting on Monday.

"There are an estimated 7 million [people with psoriasis] in the U.S., of which approximately 2 million are thought to have moderate to severe disease," Xanelim's lead researcher Craig Leonardi, MD, tells WebMD. "These patients have been waiting for a long, long time for a new approach for this severe and disabling condition. Many of these patients have actually disengaged from the healthcare system because they've grown discouraged with the treatment options. ... Medicines such as Xanelim offer a convenient and safe alternative treatment for them. It's going to be a very significant drug when it's finally approved." Leonardi is a dermatologist in private practice who works with Radiant Research in St. Louis. He also is on the clinical faculty at St. Louis University School of Medicine.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Woman sitting in front of UV lights
About 7.5 million people in the U.S. Get the facts.
stress and psoriasis
What might spark your psoriasis today?
woman bathing
Slideshow: Home Remedies For Psoriasis
woman applying lotion
It starts in the immune system. Read on.
Top Psoriasis Treatments To Try At Home
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Beware Miracle Diets For Psoriasis
Psoriasis Laser Therapy
10 Questions About Psoriasis To Ask Your Doctor
psoriasis on elbow
Psoriasis (Moderate to Severe)
Psoriatic Arthritis Do You Know The Symptoms