Updated 08 September 2014

Psoriasis treatment options are improving

Researchers are learning more about psoriasis, which in turn is leading to a growing number of treatment options including topical medicines, phototherapy and other drugs.


A growing knowledge of the skin disease called psoriasis is leading to greater treatment choices, including personalized therapies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports.

Psoriasis is an immune system disorder that causes overproduction of skin cells, resulting in scaling, pain, swelling, redness and heat. The condition affects about 7.5 million Americans.

"As we better understand the disease, researchers know more about what specific factors to target in order to develop effective treatments," FDA dermatologist Dr. Melinda McCord said in an agency news release.

Read: Stem cell therapy a cure for psoriasis?

There is no cure for psoriasis, so the main goals of treatments are to stop skin cell overproduction and reduce inflammation. Current therapies include medicines applied to the skin (topical), light treatment (phototherapy), or drugs taken by mouth or given by injection.

Doctors used to take a step-by-step approach, starting patients with mild to moderate psoriasis on topical therapy. If that was ineffective, doctors moved on to phototherapy or drug treatment.

Treatment is now more patient-specific, with doctors and patients selecting a treatment based on its effectiveness, disease severity, lifestyle, risk factors and other health issues, according to the FDA.

Read: Experimental psoriasis drug significantly better

"Tomorrow's treatments will become even more personalized because the drugs in development now are targeting different aspects of the immune system," McCord said.

"As we learn more about the immune pathways that lead to the development of psoriasis, we can target specific molecules for treatment and make more therapeutic options available to patients," she explained.

Patients need to educate themselves about their condition and treatment options.

"Psoriasis has a great emotional impact on some patients. But it doesn't have to, given the right care and treatment," McCord said.

Read more:
Psoriasis uncovered
Managing psoriasis
Psoriasis undertreated in US

See breaking news and the hottest health tips before anybody else by joining South Africa’s biggest and best health community, like health24 on Facebook now!

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules