Psoriasis, a chronic epidermal disease, has to be treated as soon as it has been diagnosed. It can affect anyone irrespective of age and is sometimes found in children too. In about 30% and above patients, a family history of psoriasis is found. A multifactorial genre of inheritance is most likely in this disease and is passed on from parents to their children.
The reasons may be many, but treatment is inevitable as it can affect the life of the person and also lead to psoriatic arthritis condition. The treatments for psoriasis are many and depend upon the doctor, the patient’s attitude to the disease and the severity of the condition. In the treatment of psoriasis either the symptoms or the causes have to be treated first which helps alleviate the condition. There is no single treatment for everyone, it depends upon the kind of psoriasis one has.
Types of Psoriasis Treatment
Treatment methods are many and are done according to the area of skin affected. If only small areas are affected, topical creams as well as lotions and sprays will be effective but if larger areas are affected stronger treatment methods will be necessary.
Some Effective Topical Therapies
Applying topical corticosteroids directly to the lesions help reduce the scaling as well as thickness of the lesions. The corticosteroids come in the form of sprays as well as creams, in the liquid form, gels, ointments etc. The strength of the steroid is different and should be applied according to the area affected. Very strong steroids should be limited in use as prolonged use of these steroids will have its side effects.
Calcipotriene cream contains vitamin D analog and is either used for treatment separately or along with other topical medications, but its overuse may cause other complications.
Topical tazarotene gel as well as cream tazarotene reduces inflammation and may cause mild irritation. It makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight and so it is better to use sunscreen lotions when this medication is used. Pregnant women should use this medication only after consulting their doctor.
Coal Tar Therapy
One of the oldest treatments in psoriasis, it helps reduce inflammation as well as itching and scaling. This can be combined with corticosteroids and applied overnight, though a little messy and stains bed clothing.
Other Topical Agents
This over the counter medicine is sometimes combined with corticosteroids or with anthralin which makes it more effective in psoriasis treatment.
This paste or cream will clear up the lesions on the skin within a period of two to three weeks, but is a mild skin irritant and should be washed off 20 to 30 minutes after application.
Moisturizers do not treat the disease, but help in reducing the itchiness as well as scaling of the skin and the dryness of the skin caused by other medications.
Natural or artificial light therapy is good for the treatment of psoriasis, either alone or combined with other medications. Ultra violet therapy helps reduce scaling as well as inflammation, but too much exposure may turn out to be harmful. It is better to use a lubricant before exposing the skin to sunlight. Short and controlled exposures help reduce psoriasis for some.
UVB therapy is good for mild to moderate psoriasis and is used when topical treatment has no effect. Again a lubricant should be used. UVL or Goeckerman therapy is a combination of cold tar treatment and UVB treatment and is found to be more effective. Photo chemotherapy is used to treat severe psoriasis as it can penetrate deep into the skin. Combination of light therapy with retinoid is used when other photo therapies prove ineffective.
When all other treatments have no effect, oral medications as well as injections are taken for the treatment of psoriasis. Though with side effects, they are a must when other treatments show no change in the condition.
Good for severe psoriasis, this medication helps decrease the production of skin cells. It has a few side effects and pregnant women should avoid it.
While suppressing inflammation it also reduces the production of skin cells and may even slow down the progress of psoriatic arthritis.
Similar to methotrexate, it suppresses the immune system.
Though not so much effective as other medications it can be used along with phototherapy.
Several drugs are made use of for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis and is given through intramuscular injections or subcutaneous or through intravenous infusion when all other traditional treatments fail to be effective.
Research shows that some types of psoriasis can be treated by following vegetarian diets as well as low energy diet and by fasting periods. A change in the lifestyle has also found to be effective. Fish oil which contains omega3 fatty acids and vitamin E and cod liver oil which has vitamin A and vitamin D in it has lessened the symptoms of psoriasis. Cannabis has also been found to lessen the severity of psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Using gram flour instead of soap and a herbal scrubber helps reduce the symptoms. Ayurveda is said to be effective in the treatment of psoriasis. ‘Panchakarma’ treatment in Ayurveda eliminates all toxins from the body and this treatment process helps control the condition of severe psoriasis. Several stages of body purification have to be gone through for good effects.
Doctors always treat the patient according to the severity of the disease starting from mild treatments and from there on to other therapies if the former are found not to be effective. The best treatment is one which has very few side effects. The treatment which is effective for one person need not be effective for another. So working with the doctor to alleviate the symptoms and trying out different treatment options is very important. Above all, a positive attitude to its treatment procedures brings about good results. The scalp as well as nails too is affected by psoriasis and treatment for this is also inevitable.