If you or a loved one has psoriasis, you know it can be a frustrating, sometimes embarrassing condition. The characteristic areas of thick, red, scaly skin may respond to topical agents, but some cases require other forms of therapy. Many of the people who visit us for psoriasis treatment at our Atlanta, Georgia office are unaware of the spectrum of treatment options available to them. Our board-certified dermatologists understand that psoriasis affects much more than the skin. They closely assess your specific condition to develop a treatment plan that’s effective, convenient, and lets you regain control of your skin – and your life. You don’t need to live with the physical and emotional discomfort of psoriasis. Contact Peachtree Dermatology Associates today to get started with your personalized treatment.
To learn more about how you may benefit from psoriasis treatment, request a consultation with Peachtree Dermatology Associates online. Or give us a call at (404) 355-1919 to schedule your appointment.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects about 3% of Americans. Fortunately, most cases are mild and can be treated with topical agents. But some cases are more severe and need more involved therapy, including ultraviolet light and possibly medications given by mouth or injection. It is usually not difficult to diagnose psoriasis; the most common form of psoriasis, called plaque psoriasis, has well-defined thick areas of red and scaly skin. It may itch, but not always. It often involves the scalp, elbows and knees, but some cases may involve more extensive areas – even the entire body.
Patients are often embarrassed by this condition. In fact, there was a large study showing that psoriasis, particularly when it is severe or involves areas of exposed skin, has a greater impact on patients’ lives than heart failure, diabetes and kidney disease. Most of the time, those diseases can be kept private, but skin disease is, unfortunately, visible and often prompts unwanted questions and stares.
Treatment for psoriasis is an evolving science. Currently, topical treatment is usually either a corticosteroid ointment or one of two immunomodulating creams: Protopic® or ELIDEL™. The more effective steroids carry the risk of thinning of the skin. This can be partly counteracted by moisturizing with salicylic or lactic acid moisturizers, which have been recently shown to help maintain skin integrity and help with collagen formation. (These moisturizers are useful for anyone who has thinning skin, especially older patients). Unfortunately, it is difficult to use topical creams over a large area of the body. New topical treatments are currently in clinical trials.
Ultraviolet light therapy works by killing the white blood cells in the skin that are driving the psoriasis. The treatment comes in many forms. The most recent is narrow band ultraviolet B. This treatment is safer and more effective than traditional UVB therapy since it only delivers the wave lengths of light that are therapeutic. Like all forms of ultraviolet light, prolonged treatment can increase the risk of skin cancer. PUVA is a combination of an oral medication that increases sensitivity to light followed by exposure to ultraviolet A light. While it is very effective, patients remain sensitive to light for 24 hours and must wear protective eyewear. In addition, it increases the risk of skin cancer more than the other forms of light treatment.
Systemic treatments include SORIATANE®, methotrexate, cyclosporine and a new class of medication called “the biologics.” The biologics got their name because they target specific natural, biologic proteins in the body that are elevated in patients with psoriasis. This is an actively developing area of psoriasis treatment, and patients in Atlanta seeking psoriasis treatment are fortunate to have access to leading edge options through Peachtree Dermatology’s research center. There are several biologic treatments already on the market. These include a class called “the tumor necrosis factor inhibitors” – medications such as Enbrel®, HUMIRA®, REMICADE®, and STELARA®. These drugs are remarkably effective at treating psoriasis, and have excellent safety profiles. Truly, at Peachtree Dermatology, we feel that no one in this day and age should have to suffer with psoriasis. There are so many treatment options available.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with psoriasis, please make an appointment with our office so that we can discuss this complex disease and your many treatment options.