Possible therapies for psoriasis
Therapy is always adapted to each individual case. External (topical) therapy can use creams, ointments, gels and lotions. These local treatments can – with milder cases – be used alone or together with systemic therapy in the form of infusions, injections or tablets. The inflammatory processes are always the focal point of treatment.
Local therapy – also called topical therapy – can be applied regardless of severity, either as a stand-alone treatment if symptoms are less pronounced, or as a supplement to systemic therapy if the disease is severe or moderately severe.
Depending on the preparation and symptoms, the necessary active ingredient is applied in a lotion, cream or ointment. The official guidelines include the following active ingredients in their recommendations:
- Calcineurin inhibitors: Officially only approved for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, these substances are sometimes also prescribed for psoriasis as off-label use.
- Dithranol: An artificially produced tar that slows cell division and has anti-inflammatory effects.
- Glucocorticosteroids: Cortisone is effective against acute centres of inflammation. However, owing to side effects it can only be used for a short time and precisely according to doctor’s orders.
- Vitamin D3: According to studies, the effect is similar to moderately dosed cortisone preparations – with a lower risk of side effects.
Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, can boost the effect of some pharmaceuticals. But owing to the beneficial effects of UV radiation, it is often used by dermatologists as well – especially for the treatment of large areas of skin and more severe forms.
Good skin care, also in between flares, is recommended as a supplement to therapy.
Immunological processes in the body play a key role in the development of psoriasis. If a purely external treatment does not bring satisfactory results or in the case of moderately severe to severe psoriasis, the doctor can also prescribe injections, tablets or infusions that have a systemic effect, i.e. throughout the whole body.
Adequate medical skin care is also an advantage when used together with systemic therapy.