One of the top psoriasis treatment options using conventional medicine is systemic treatment. Systemic drugs comprise medications that are administered orally or though injections into the skin (subcutaneous) or the muscle (intramuscular). Due to these medications entering the body, they are called systemic agents and are commonly used to treat moderate to severe cases of psoriasis.
There are many systemic medications that are used today as part of the various psoriasis treatment options. While this is definitely a treatment option for you to consider, it is important to remember that you have to use them long-term but they can be toxic. The potential side effects from using systemic medications is something to discuss with your doctor.
Common Systemic Medications
This systemic drug that was initially developed for the treatment of cancer has also been used to treat psoriasis that is moderate to severe. It is also used to treat psoriatic arthritis.
Methotrexate is an antimetabolite which means that it interferes with the growth of skin cells which means that it can help to reduce the rapid cell turnover associated with psoriasis lesions.
While relatively safe, you should not use this drug if you have a history of kidney disease, liver disease, blood disorders, etc. It is usually administered once a week in pill form or in the form of an injection. It is also used when other more conservative psoriasis treatment options fail to work.
While generally safe as mentioned previously when used properly and as instructed, there are side effects associated with this systemic treatment including nausea, appetite loss and diarrhea. A significant problem with methotrexate especially with long-term use is that there is an increased risk of cirrhosis which is severe scarring of the liver so periodic liver biopsies are necessary when you are on this medication.
2. Oral Retinoids
These represent derivatives of vitamin A and affect the growth of skin cells. There are various types of oral retinoids that are commonly used such as Acitretin and Accutane that are generally recommended for severe cases of psoriasis.
While oral retinoids may be effective, it is important to remember that there are side effects including the risk of birth defects (so it is not recommended for pregnant women or women who wish to or are planning to get pregnant). It also increases skin sensitivity making it imperative for you to use a good sunscreen to protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays even when you only use the retinoid at night.
Other side effects include the risk of inflammation of the pancreas, increased fats in the blood, disturbance of liver function, nose bleeds, dry lips, dry eyes, etc.
This systemic medication works by depressing the immune system which helps to slow down the rapid skin cell turnover associated with psoriasis as well as reducing the number of active white blood cells in the skin.
If you have a severe case of psoriasis, this drug may be recommended to help cause the psoriasis to go into remission before switching to another treatment method for maintenance.
While it can be effective, like other systemic medications, it can lead to significant side effects such as kidney damage, increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, etc.
Of the various psoriasis treatment options, systemic medications are definitely something to consider but because of the significant side effects, you may want to try other treatment methods first. Why not try this natural psoriasis treatment method that is virtually side effect free and inexpensive.