There are many treatments for psoriasis. Some treatments slow the production of new skin cells, while others relieve itching and dry skin. Your doctor will select a treatment plan that is right for you based on the extent of your rash, where it is on your body, your age, health, and other factors.
Common treatments include:
- Steroid creams
- Moisturizers (to relieve dry skin)
- Coal tar (a common treatment for scalp psoriasis; it may also be used with light therapy for severe cases; available in lotions, shampoos, and bath solutions)
- Vitamin D cream (a special form that is ordered by your doctor; Vitamin D in foods and vitamin pills have no effect on psoriasis)
- Retinoid creams
Ultraviolet light is used to slow the production of skin cells, and is administered under a doctor's care. PUVA is a treatment that combines a medicine called psoralen with exposure to a special form of ultraviolet light.
This oral drug can cause liver disease and lung problems, so its use is limited to severe cases of psoriasis and people taking this medication are carefully monitored with blood tests. Chest X-rays and occasional liver biopsies may also be needed.
A class of drugs related to Vitamin A, they can be used in cream or gel forms and pills to treat psoriasis. Retinoids can cause serious side effects, including birth defects; therefore, retinoids are not recommended for women who are pregnant or planning to have children.
This immunosuppressant drug may be used for very severe psoriasis that has not responded to other treatments. Because it can damage the kidneys and raise blood pressure, regular monitoring is needed.
Newer drugs for treating psoriasis include Amevive, Humira, Stelera, and Enbrel. All of these are given by injection and work by blocking the body's immune system from "kick-starting" an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis. A similar drug, Remicade, is given by IV on a regular basis.
Can Psoriasis Be Cured
Psoriasis cannot be cured, but treatment greatly reduces signs and symptoms, even in severe cases.