Advances in Psoriasis Treatment

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PHYSICIAN VOICES
4 Reasons to Try a New Psoriasis Medication

  • psoriasis-on-elbows
    Treatment Options for Psoriasis
    Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes red, scaly, often painful plaques on the surface of the skin. It can be especially irritating, and even take an emotional toll, if your psoriasis is considered moderate or severe. Thankfully, treatment for psoriasis has come a long way in the last 15 years with the introduction of biologics, a type of genetically-engineered medication that targets specific components of the immune system. Today, there are more options than ever before. If your current medication isn’t doing the trick, ask your doctor about other options. Here are four reasons you may want or need to try a new psoriasis medication.

  • psoriasis-information-with-pills
    1. The drug doesn’t work after three months.
    Despite the advances in medicine, no treatment is perfect. That said, one drug may work wonderfully for someone else with psoriasis, but reap no benefits for you. If your body isn’t responding after three months on a given treatment, follow up with your dermatologist. He or she may increase your dosage or suggest a completely new drug.

  • man-holding-two-bottles-of-pills
    2. The drug used to work well, but isn’t working anymore.
    Maybe you thought you found your wonder drug, but it isn’t working anymore. Sometimes, a drug decreases in effectiveness the longer you use it because your body can develop antibodies against the medication you’re on. Some biologics can be coupled with other psoriasis medications, like Methotrexate, to lessen your body’s likelihood of making antibodies. Some may have become ineffective for another reason. Be sure to monitor your body’s response to your medication, and make sure you’re adhering to your treatment plan and communicating with your doctor about any change or worsening of your condition.

  • Pain or cramps in stomach
    3. You’re experiencing intolerable side effects.
    While much less common with biologics and newer treatments, you may still experience severe side effects from your psoriasis medication. If you have severe nausea, extreme headaches, or crippling fatigue, ask your doctor about trying a new drug, period. Your medication shouldn’t make you feel drastically worse while you’re trying to feel better.

  • A Vulnerable Time for Infections
    4. You develop an infection or cancer.
    Since psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, most psoriasis medications work on shutting down certain areas of your immune system. While this works to stop psoriasis symptoms, it also knocks out parts of your immune system that are meant to protect you from certain infections, like tuberculosis. In addition, research has shown that people with severe psoriasis may have an increased risk of developing cancers, such as lymphoma and skin cancers, and some studies have suggested that certain therapies may increase the risk even further. Though cancers and serious infections are rare, it’s important to work with your doctor to monitor for these conditions.

  • male-patient-speaking-with-male-doctor
    Communication with your doctor is key.
    Above all, keep your physician updated with any new symptoms and any new medications or dosage changes for other conditions you’re treating. Effectively communicating with your doctor and care team is the first step to effectively treating your condition.

4 Reasons to Try a New Psoriasis Medication

About The Author

Dr. Aaron Mangold is an assistant professor of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
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THIS CONTENT DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This content is provided for informational purposes and reflects the opinions of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional regarding your health. If you think you may have a medical emergency, contact your doctor immediately or call 911.
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