Psoriasis Medication

By Dr. Totenkopf | July 18, 2016

Oral or injected medications may be prescribed by a doctor if you suffer from a complicated form of psoriasis or if other treatment types have appeared to be ineffective. However, it has to be considered that some of above-mentioned drugs can’t be taken for extended periods, thus it’s recommended to alternate them with other treatment forms.

Retinoids

These are vitamin A-related medications which decrease skin cell production in complicated cases resistant to other psoriasis cure methods. However, once therapy is halted symptoms are likely to return. Loss of hair & inflammation of lips are the most wide spread negative effects.
As some retinoids, in particular, acitretin (Soriatane) can lead to significant birth defects pregnancy must be avoided by women for about 3 years after undertaking treatment by these drugs.

Methotrexate

This oral medication allows patients to reduce skin cell production and suppress inflammation. There are also indications of suspended psoriatic arthritis achieved due to methotrexate therapy. Being typically well-tolerated when taken in strictly prescribed doses methotrexate may lead to stomach ache, appetite loss and fatigue. Taking this drug for longer periods can be harmful for patient’s overall health because of a danger of liver damage and upset in the production of platelets and leukocytes/erythrocytes.

Cyclosporine

This medication is as effective as methotrexate. Belonging to immunosuppressant drug type, it can lead to corresponding side effects such as different infections, cancer and other health problems. Moreover, cyclosporine makes patients more vulnerable to kidney diseases and blood pressure increase especially when being taken in large doses and for an extened period of time.

Biologics or drugs affecting the immune system

Moderate and severe forms of psoriasis disease can be treated by some approved immunomodulator medications, namely adalimumab (Humira®), infliximab (Remicade®), ustekinumab (Stelara®) & etanercept (Enbrel®). These drugs injected intramuscularly/ subcutaneously or infused intravenously are particularly suitable for patients who have failed to harness the disease with traditional therapy or whose health condition is complicated with psoriatic arthritis. Taking biologics results in blocking links between certain cells of immune system and associated inflammatory pathways. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation ustekinumab (Stelara) is effective as a first-line therapy. Having rather natural than chemical origin biologics nevertheless should be taken with some caution because of their bearing imminent threat for patient’s immune system in particular provoking dangerous for human life infections. People treated with these medications are to undergo tuberculosis screening.

Other medications

In case other drugs are not suitable hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea) and thioguanine are usually prescribed.
Experimental medications. At present new drugs having the prospects to improve psoriasis cure are being researched: inhibitors of phosphodiesterase 4, inhibitors of Janus kinase, agents of anti-interleukin-17 and anti-interleukin-12/23 receptors, antagonists of A3 adenosine receptor.

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