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Treatment options

The suitable treatment for psoriasis is determined by the patient’s symptoms and their severity. The patient’s life situation also affects treatment.

Erilaisia lääketabletteja vaaleankeltaisella tasolla.
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Topical medication

Topical medication, i.e. medicinal ointments and solutions, are sufficient for treating mild cases of skin psoriasis. In addition, regular creams are an important part of basic skin care. They do not treat psoriasis, but soften and moisturise the skin. A suitable cream will alleviate symptoms such as itching and tenderness of the skin.

Ointments are applied as courses and according to your doctor’s instructions. The potential adverse effects of ointments are avoided when they are applied as courses.

Mild cortisone creams are usually used on areas where the skin is thin, such as the face and the crooks and bends of the joints. Strong or very strong cortisone creams are often used on other parts of the skin. In addition to cortisones, other active substances, such as vitamin D derivatives, are also used in topical medication.

Exercise and other self-care

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes habits such as regular exercise, adequate sleep and rest, stress management and a healthy diet is an important part of psoriasis self-care and helps prevent other diseases.

Light therapy

Skin psoriasis can be treated with UVB or PUVA if topical medication is not sufficient. Light therapy uses ultraviolet radiation that alleviates skin inflammation. It can be applied if the skin psoriasis has spread to a wide area and the patient’s skin type can tolerate UV radiation.

Light therapy is usually administered in series of 15–20 times in a light therapy device. Light therapy always requires a referral from a doctor.

Sunlight also contains UV radiation. Some people with psoriasis treat their symptoms in the sun by, for example, travelling south during the winter months. Sunbathing should be practised with caution and according to the patient’s skin type so that the skin does not get sunburnt. Excessive exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer.

Systemic treatment

Systemic treatment utilises either tablets or injections. They affect the whole body and help extinguish psoriasis-related inflammation in the body. Systemic treatment is used when other treatments are not effective enough or cannot be used. Many systemic drugs are effective in the treatment of skin psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

The primary systemic medication is usually methotrexate. It is well suited to long-term use. Mild psoriatic arthritis can also be treated on a course basis with anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone. Other systemic drugs include acitretin and ciclosporin.

Severe cases of skin psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are treated with injections of biological medicines when traditional medicines do not work. Biological medicines are different from traditional chemical medicines in that they are made from living cells. Biological medicines include adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab.

Similar, interchangeable medicines with the same active substances have been developed for biological medicines for which patent protection has expired. These medicines are called biosimilars. Biosimilars are as effective and safe as the originals.