Tazorac Help on Psoriasis

The hereditary skin disorder known as psoriasis produces red, scaly skin patches. There is no cure. A new non-greasy gel may provide some patients the best results yet.

As her children grow up, Charlotte Vaughan wonders whether they, too, will suffer from psoriasis. Charlotte was 17 when the unsightly patches surfaced. “It gets scaly and sometimes itchy. Just having the bumps themselves is kind of embarrassing,” she says.

Charlotte isn’t embarrassed anymore. Her psoriasis has almost disappeared with the help of a new topical gel called Tazorac. “It took two weeks to see some results,” says Charlotte. “About two or three days after that they were gone.”

Fourteen-year-old Evan Hawkins had similar results. “It’s really great. It’s helped me a lot,” he says.

Doctors say this vitamin A derivative works by targeting abnormal skin cell growth, which causes psoriasis. This picture was taken before treatment. After eight weeks of Tazorac, the patches and inflammation are almost gone.

Alan Menter, M.D., is a dermatologist at Baylor Psoriasis Center in Dallas, Tex. “The majority of patients, over 80 percent, will get significant improvement in their psoriasis,” he says.

Unlike other treatments, Tazorac is applied only once a day. There is a side effect, however. Doctors say too much can irritate the surrounding skin.

Yet, Dr. Mentor says, “As compared to all the other preparations we’ve had to put on the skin, this seems to work for a longer period of time.” For Charlotte, it’s kept her psoriasis manageable longer.

Tazorac runs $60 to $75 for a month’s supply. It has also been FDA-approved for the treatment of acne.

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