Oral Prescription Medications
While topical medications are beneficial, oral medications may be needed because psoriasis is a systemic disease. Oral medications are more effective than topical remedies as they reach the deep layers of the skin more effectively, are distributed throughout your entire body and impact your immune system more completely. They are also fast acting.
The use of oral medication for psoriasis is something that many doctors only recommend once you’ve explored your other alternatives. It’s not the ideal solution and is generally something that would be explored in more severe cases of psoriasis.
However, because oral medications have systemic effects, they are more likely than topical remedies to produce undesirable side effects. The types of side effects that may be experienced from specific oral medications can include symptoms like tiredness, headaches, changes in mood, stomach pain, or swelling. It all depends on the type of medication you’re taking and how your body responds. Everyone’s different when it comes to medication.
Close monitoring of your health may be needed if you require the use of oral prescription medications. Their use is reserved for people who suffer from moderate to severe psoriasis or for people whose psoriasis does not respond to topical treatment.
Oral medications are used to control symptoms of pustular and erythrodermic types of psoriasis.
Biologic medications may be administered by injection or intravenously. They are powerful agents that suppress your immune system. While biologics can be extremely valuable, they are highly potent drugs that can cause severe side effects.
An interesting thing about biologics is that they target specific parts of an immune system, so there are specific biologics that will target the particular part of the immune system that could be causing someone’s psoriasis.
As stated by the National Psoriasis Foundation, “The biologics used to treat psoriatic disease block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T cell, or block proteins in the immune system, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 17-A, or interleukins 12 and 23. These cells and proteins all play a major role in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.”
It’s incredibly interesting and exciting that technology and science like this are becoming increasingly more available. However, if you need to use biologics, your health must be monitored carefully. You will need to undergo regular blood screening tests. You may suffer from an increased likelihood of contracting severe infections and other illnesses.
Biologic medicines are made from animal or human protein and alter the way that your immune system transmits messages. As a result, excess skin cell growth slows.
Phototherapy for Psoriasis
Phototherapy uses ultraviolet radiation to depress the actions of specific white blood cells, called T cells. By suppressing T cell activity, skin cell growth slows. Phototherapy may be delivered using several different techniques. Lasers, light boxes, and phototherapy kits are types of phototherapy.
Ultraviolet light B (UVB) phototherapy works by directly slowing skin cell growth. Psoralen and ultraviolet light A, also known as PUVA, makes your skin more sensitive to light. By increasing your skin’s sensitivity to light, your cells reproduce at a slower rate.
Two types of laser therapy are used to provide phototherapy for psoriasis. They are excimer and pulsed dye lasers. Excimer lasers are used to treat chronic areas of localized, hard to treat psoriasis. They work by exposing the affected area to a high-intensity dose of UVB light. Pulsed dye lasers are used to destroy tiny capillaries. With a reduced blood supply, psoriatic lesions are unable to form.
Phototherapy treatments can be done by a doctor or done at home using a phototherapy kit. It isn’t recommended to use tanning beds to help treat your psoriasis, as this type of light doesn’t have the type of light that will help treat psoriasis. It also raises your risk of melanoma significantly. Talk to your doctor about the type of phototherapy you’re considering trying to make sure it’s safe.
Sunlight also has a level of UVB light that can help to treat psoriasis. Again, you’ll need to ensure you’re exposing yourself at safe rates. Consider the intensity of the sun in your part of the world as well. The rate at which sunlight will help your skin versus damage it considerably will differ depending on where you’re located.
The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends starting “with five to 10 minutes of noontime sun daily. Gradually increase exposure time by 30 seconds if the skin tolerates it.” If you’re exploring this method along with specific types of topical medications, make sure you check with your doctor as some topical treatments can make your skin much more susceptible to damage from sunlight.
Comprehensive Treatment of Psoriasis
Psoriasis treatment doesn't only focus on the prescription side of things, it also focuses on your lifestyle habits – from relieving stress to eating a psoriasis-friendly diet – and your emotional and mental health well-being.
Using a combination approach of natural, preventative, and state of the art therapies may provide you with better control of your psoriasis symptoms. Sometimes it takes time and experimenting with different techniques in order to obtain maximum benefit. Fortunately, we live at a time when access to ancient and modern healing techniques is widely available.
It's important to remember, while one psoriasis treatment may work for someone else, it may not work for you. Some people may find one type of treatment works while others find that a combination of therapies provides symptom relief.
Whether you're newly diagnosed with psoriasis or have been living with psoriasis for a long time, you understand that it comes with its own sets of challenges and frustrations. Remember to be patient with yourself and don't push yourself as it could worsen your symptoms and cause a potential psoriasis flare.