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Advanced Psoriasis Treatment: When Creams Aren’t Enough

Psoriasis and Quality of Life

Doctors and psoriasis sufferers don’t always agree on what’s mild and what’s serious. Psoriasis can affect self-image and make people self-conscious. This can even lead to depression and social isolation. These are serious effects of psoriasis.

Only a frank discussion with your doctor about what living with psoriasis means to you will get these issues out in the open.

Making Your Decision: First Use Topical Treatments Correctly

Studies show that many people with limited psoriasis don’t apply topical therapies consistently. Topical treatments haven’t failed -- they’ve just never been given a fair chance to work. The first step is to use your topical psoriasis treatment exactly as directed.

That said, people often don’t use topical therapies consistently because the ointments are messy and inconvenient. It’s an unfortunate fact of life with psoriasis.

Switching to systemic treatment for psoriasis for the sake of convenience isn’t wrong. But you should do it with an understanding of the risks and benefits of systemic treatment for psoriasis.

Systemic Psoriasis Treatment: Balancing Risks and Benefits

The fine print on the labels for systemic psoriasis treatments could give anyone concerns. The immune system is involved in psoriasis, and most systemic psoriasis treatments target the immune system.

  • Biologic therapies and some oral treatments can increase the risk of infections.
  • Phototherapy can cause skin damage, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
  • Methotrexate requires monitoring for liver, bone marrow, kidney, and lung damage.
  • Cyclosporine can cause kidney damage and also requires monitoring.

Each treatment has its own side effects, which you should discuss with your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on April 28, 2015
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