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Treatment Options Expand for Psoriasis Patients

There's no cure, but experts cite reasons for hope for 7.5 million Americans with the disease

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The newest and perhaps most helpful drugs for people with psoriasis are called biologics and include such drugs as Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Stelara. They work by suppressing certain parts of the immune system, and are given by injection or intravenously, Lebwohl said. Because they affect the immune system, however, they carry some increased risks.

"People usually do very well on these medications," Lin said, but she added that "they may see an increase in colds or in infections like strep throat."

For people with psoriatic arthritis, Lebwohl said, methotrexate and most of the biologics are the preferred treatments.

Many people end up using a combination of medications -- a biologic and topical corticosteroids, for instance.

Even more options are in the treatment pipeline.

Lebwohl said there are "at least two pills on the near horizon, and at least five new biologics in the works." And, according to the foundation, more oral medications and new topical treatments are currently being tested in clinical trials.

"There are good medications to control psoriasis, but there's no cure yet," Lin said, but she added that, with all the new medications in development, there's reason to be hopeful.

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