Medical Treatment Options for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that manifests mostly on the skin through skin lesions. The condition is not treatable, but it can be managed through different types of medication or alternative remedies. These are targeted to manage the chronic symptoms of the disease.


Dithranol is a topical ointment that can be used on patients with psoriasis, provided the disease doesn’t have severe symptoms. The ointment is made of goa powder, which is manufactured from the bark of arariba tree.

The treatment has been around for over 100 years and is often prescribed to psoriasis patients. The treatment may be combined with corticosteroid therapy, provided this is administered as pills. Dithranol shouldn’t be combined with corticosteroid cream treatment. The topical treatment may also be combined with phototherapy.

Corticosteroid Treatment

The corticosteroid treatment may be applied topically or internally, depending on how severe the psoriasis symptoms are. The topical creams are ideal for patients with mild psoriasis to keep the lesions at bay. The creams will penetrate the skin and be effective within a few days after starting the treatment. The corticosteroids will reduce the inflammation and then get rid of the flaky skin. Creams may be used as a long term treatment, without major side effects. Some patients may develop irritations to the corticosteroid cream. Alternatives to creams include sprays, lotions, powders, medicated tapes or gels.

The corticosteroid tablets are recommended for patients with severe cases of psoriasis. Corticosteroids are naturally produced in the body and the tablets are made synthetically to mimic the natural corticosteroids. The tablets will inhibit the immune system activity, reducing the occurrence of psoriasis lesions and other symptoms of the disease. The administration of corticosteroids for a long time may have side effects such as:

  • Liquid retention
  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Kidney and liver damage

A patient under corticosteroids should be monitored and if the side effects are severe, the medication should be discontinued. The discontinuation of corticosteroids should be done gradually, as the sudden discontinuation of the tablets may lead to adrenal insufficiency and hormonal imbalance.

Being an immune system suppressor, the corticosteroid treatment should only be administered to patients that are in good health. The patient will be prone to more infections and diseases, as the immune system will not be able to respond properly.


Phototherapy, or ultraviolet therapy, is an effective treatment for psoriasis patients with moderate to severe symptoms. UVB treatments can be administered on a regular basis to reduce the psoriasis symptoms.

Biological Therapy

The biological therapies are a new development in medicine to control the symptoms of psoriasis. There are a few drugs that are meant to reduce the skin lesions and keep the skin healthy. These medications include:

  • Efalizumab
  • Alefacept
  • Etanercept
  • Infliximab

The biological therapies are said to have fewer side effects than the other medical treatment options for psoriasis and are great for long term use.

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