Vitamin D analogues ease psoriasis

Vitamin D analogues have proven useful in treating mild to moderate psoriasis. A vitamin D analogue is an artificially made form of vitamin D3, but it is not the same as a vitamin D supplement. In Canada, there are two types of vitamin D analogue treatments available. One is calcipotriol which is available as a cream, an ointment, and a scalp solution. The other, a new combination product with calcipotriol and betamethasone diproprionate (a steroid medication), is available as an ointment.

These treatments work by slowing down the rate of skin growth and by reducing inflammation. The major side effect associated with vitamin D analogues is mild, temporary skin irritation in the area where the medication was applied. People using these medications should be aware that skin-applied vitamin D analogues have a chemically different form of the vitamin than an oral (by mouth) vitamin supplement does. Such supplements will not treat your psoriasis and can, in fact, be harmful if taken in large amounts. Keep in mind too that vitamin D has an effect on growing bones, so extra caution is needed when these treatments are used by children. For children under two years of age, a safe maximum dosage has not yet been determined.

To reach their greatest effect, vitamin D analogues must be applied regularly as prescribed by your doctor. Most people using calcipotriol will notice improvement within two weeks, but best results usually take up to six to eight weeks. People using the combination product containing calcipotriol and betamethasone usually see improvement within one week, with best results within four weeks. Since the best results may take some time, stick with your dosing routine and give the medication a chance to work!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Options

All about coal tar

Coal tar is a black liquid, rich in organic matter, that is derived from coal and has been around for many years as a treatment for psoriasis. It is effective in treating mild to moderate plaque psoriasis. Coal tar has few side effects, but it has a strong odour, and you may find it messy to use.

To use, apply coal tar-based products in the direction of the hair growth and let dry on your skin for at least two hours. Be aware that coal tar can stain fabric, so don't wear your favourite clothes at this time! Check with your doctor about possibly applying coal tar at night, not only to avoid staining day-time clothes, but also to minimize any self-consciousness about the odour of the coal-tar. (Keep in mind, though, that the coal tar may stain your sheets and pyjamas - maybe reserve an older set for this purpose.) Different people experience different success with coal tar products (e.g., some people may experience skin irritation) - ask your doctor about which products might work best for you, and for how long you should use them.

For psoriasis scaling on the scalp, coal tar-based shampoos are available.

Your doctor may recommend using coal tar together with another psoriasis treatment, ultraviolet B phototherapy (often referred to as the Goeckermann regimen). Studies have shown this combination therapy to be very successful in helping to clear lesions.

Recently, some people have voiced a concern that using coal tar may cause skin cancer. However, at present, no evidence exists to support this, and experts continue to believe that the concentrations of coal tar found in most psoriasis products are low enough to be safe. If you use coal tar, talk to your doctor about any skin cancer concerns you may have.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Options

Immunotherapy and you

A 1998 survey of the National Psoriasis Foundation showed that only 26% of members were satisfied with their current psoriasis treatment. These numbers highlight a need for alternative treatments, and one of the treatment areas currently being researched is that of immunotherapy.

Psoriasis is a condition that involves problems with the healthy functioning of the immune system. Accordingly, researchers have evaluated treatments that specifically target the immune system. This type of treatment is called immunotherapy. Two such medications now used to treat severe psoriasis are cyclosporine and methotrexate. Typically, cyclosporine and methotrexate are recommended when psoriasis has not responded to treatment with topical (skin-applied) medications such as ointments or creams.

While cyclosporine and methotrexate can help clear psoriasis lesions, these medications can cause a variety of side effects. Some side effects can cause serious problems and, therefore, people using these medications must be monitored regularly by their doctors.

Current research focuses on medications that have fewer side effects, such as those that focus on interupting certain immune responses present in psoriasis rather than medications that target the entire immune system. The hope is that these drugs, called biologics, will offer psoriasis relief while not causing further problems. These medications include alefacept, etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab. While these medications are at differing stages of approval for use, experts remain "cautiously optimistic" that these drugs will prove safer than those currently available.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Options

Which natural or non-drug alternative remedies will help?

Which natural or non-drug alternative remedies will help my condition? Different options exist. The remedies listed below are all known to help ease symptoms.

Baths: Taking an oatmeal bath can help reduce itching. Or try adding oil, or dissolving epsom or Dead Sea salts in your bathwater. This helps loosen and remove scales and also reduces itching. Limit your bath to about 15 minutes, and remember to apply a good moisturizer when you step out of the tub. This helps trap moisture in your skin. Remember not to take a very hot or very cold bath, as extremes in temperature can aggravate symptoms.

Sunlight: A little sunlight does a lot of good. Try to spend some time outside each day to expose your skin to the benefits of the sun's ultraviolet rays. But make sure to avoid a sunburn, which can worsen or trigger a psoriasis flare-up. Always use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on unaffected areas or if you'll be in the sun for more than 20 minutes.

Stress relief: Stress is a known factor linked with psoriasis. It can be caused by the itching and many other effects of the condition, but stress itself can also trigger flare-ups. Do your best to reduce your stress by taking some time each day to relax - take a walk in the park or read a book. Other stress relievers could include yoga or meditation. (Some research even indicates that listening to meditation tapes during phototherapy gives extra benefits in clearing psoriasis.) Choose whichever stress relievers work best for you. Remember that they not only help your psoriasis but also boost your overall health.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-Treatment-Options