The future holds good news for psoriasis patients

Psoriasis affects between 6 million and 7 million Americans, and while it is a condition of the skin, it leaves the patients with emotional issues due to the change in their appearance. The condition presents itself as raised, thickened patches of red skin covered in silvery-white scales. It can affect any part of the body including the nails and the scalp.

In addition to the creams that have long been available to treat the condition, the FDA has recently approved a foam called clobetasol propionate. In this form, it can penetrate the skin easily and is not as messy as many of the other medications. The medication has been found especially useful in treating the scalp, the upper torso and the extremities.

While most topical creams used to treat psoriasis have been corticosteroids, a new variety of non-steroidal creams are now available. These include Tazarotene, a cream made from vitamin A that has until recently only been available as a gel. Also, topical immunomodulators such as tacrolimus ointment are showing success in treating psoriasis on the face and other sensitive areas.

Finally, two drugs that have been used to treat Crohn’s disease, remicade and etanercept, are proving effective in treating psoriasis. These interfere with specific immune responses and have fewer side effects than other similar drugs.

The latest developments in psoriasis therapies are really a positive step forward in finding innovative ways to treat this chronic skin condition.

SOURCE: American Academy of Dermatology Summer Scientific Meeting in New York, July 31-Aug. 4, 2002

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