Psoriasis - a common condition with many treatments

Psoriasis is common and represents a significant concern to those who have it. Fortunately, it can be treated right here in Edmonton.
Edmonton has many skilled dermatologists offering a variety of treatments that can tackle the symptomatic manifestations of psoriasis. The disease is not contagious, however, the red, raised plaques of sensitive skin make the patient look unhealthy and can reduce physical attractiveness.

There are several types of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis
is a common type where the skin becomes red, sometimes itchy and is covered with silver scales. This type of manifestation is not permanent, as it can come and go.
Guttate psoriasis is a collection of small pink dots on the trunk, and less extensively on the arms and legs. The scales on these are fine, small and more persistent.
Pustular psoriasis is a rare type of disease in which series of white pustules (puss filled blisters – not infectious) form on the skin. These are clearly demarcated and can cause the skin to become red and, later on, dark brown.
In inverse psoriasis, bright, smooth, non-scaly patches of skin are found in the folds of skin, in areas such as the breasts, genitals and buttocks. Frequently, there is yeast overgrowth in these areas and the affected person can experience significant itchiness.
Erythrodermic psoriasis is a serious form of psoriasis where diffuse redness and scaliness affects most of the body. Urgent treatments are frequently required.
Palmo-plantar psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that is primarily localized to the hands and feet.

Generally speaking, these are the available treatments for psoriasis:
A)    Topical agents such as lotions, creams, gels or sprays. These include cortisone creams, Vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid preparations, tars or even forms of retinoid.
B)     Phototherapy using monitored doses of specialized UVA, Broad Band UVB or Narrow Band UVB. These treatments must be done under the guidance of a physician and the dose of the treatments must be carefully monitored.
C)    Oral medications. These agents can include methotrexate, retinoids, cyclosporine, prednisone (only in very select cases), biologics and other immunomodulating agents.
D)    Injectable medications such as biologics or methotrexate.

As with any medical therapies, it is critical that patients receive a correct diagnosis (many skin conditions can look like psoriasis but are not). I recommend that patients see a dermatologist.

A comprehensive discussion regarding the benefits and the risks of each therapy is necessary prior to proceeding with any therapeutic modalities.

The above information is publicly available from multiple library and scientific community sources and is intended for general information only. It does not replace a visit and a discussion with your family doctor or a dermatologist.

Dr. Sapijaszko and his team are conducting studies to help people with psoriasis. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at 780-424-4440 ext. 3 or email us.

The information provided on this website is for Canadian patients only and is meant for information and education that is based on experience and research.



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