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Making the Best Choices for Your Psoriasis

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Finding the Psoriasis Medication That Works for Your Lifestyle

Medically Reviewed By Joan Paul, MD, MPH, DTMH

If psoriasis flare-ups are not improving, talk with your doctor about changing your treatment plan. Switching medications may help you manage psoriasis flare-ups and improve your quality of life.

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The hallmark of psoriasis is inflammation, which often results in thick, raised plaques and scales on the skin. Most people with psoriasis have specific triggers that can cause their psoriasis to flare up: an infection, stress, weather changes, or even a reaction to a medication.

You have options when it comes to medications that can help you manage psoriasis flare-ups.

The first step is talking with your doctor about your current treatment plan and goals for switching medications. Your doctor can help you consider a new treatment approach depending on how severe your psoriasis is and the location on your body. After trying a few options, some people find that a combination of topical treatments works best.

Medication options for psoriasis

If you have mild to moderate psoriasis, a cream or ointment may provide relief. Some of these can include:

  • corticosteroids
  • topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCI)
  • salicylic acid
  • retinoid
  • topical medications, such as roflumilast or tapinarof

If psoriasis is moderate to severe, your doctor may recommend a systemic medication. Some options can include:

  • apremilast (Otezla)
  • cyclosporine (Neoral)
  • methotrexate (Trexall)
  • deucravacitinib (Sotyktu)
  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • adalimumab (Humira)

In some cases, your doctor may recommend an “off-label” medication. This means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved a medication for a condition — in this case, psoriasis. However, based on a medical perspective, your doctor can suggest an off-label medication to treat psoriasis flare-ups.

Transitioning psoriasis medications

Finding the proper treatment may require a few months of making changes to your medication and daily habits. Consider keeping a symptoms journal to track psoriasis flare-ups as you begin a new medication. This step can help you and your doctor better understand skin triggers and medication effects during a period.

Ask your doctor about the possible side effects you should be aware of as you change medications. You will feel prepared when you know what to expect.

Psoriasis medication is not intended for use during pregnancy. If you plan to become pregnant, you can work with your medical team to make changes accordingly.

The cost of treatment can be a concern for people with psoriasis. If cost and health insurance are issues, consider asking your medical team about financial options. Also, you could research resources that would allow you to begin or continue with treatment, especially if a medication is the most effective for your psoriasis.

The National Psoriasis Foundation operates a Financial Assistance Resource Center, where you can find suggestions for covering the cost of treatment.

Considering mental health care

Treating psoriasis can clear up your skin, reduce the itchiness that often accompanies psoriasis, and even slow the progression of the disease. However, 2020 research highlights other benefits beyond your skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), treating your psoriasis can help you feel more confident and sleep better. Managing psoriasis flare-ups and experiencing itch and pain relief can go a long way toward improving your mental health and well-being.

As you work with your doctor to find the best treatment, joining a support group can be an opportunity to connect, share experiences, and learn more about managing psoriasis.

A few online support group options include:

The National Psoriasis Foundation holds events around the United States, including the Commit to Cure Gala and Take ACTION for Psoriatic Disease.

Takeaway

Managing psoriasis flare-ups requires treating inflammation caused by triggers, such as an infection, stress, weather changes, or reaction to a particular medication. You can work with your doctor to understand what causes your psoriasis flare-ups and consider changing your medication.

 

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Medical Reviewer: Joan Paul, MD, MPH, DTMH
Last Review Date: 2024 Jan 5
View All Making the Best Choices for Your Psoriasis Articles
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