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Treatment of psoriasis is usually a series of steps, called the 1-2-3 approach, which entails:

Step 1—Topical: Medication applied directly to the surface of the skin

Step 2—Phototherapy: Phototherapy (light treatment) using ultraviolet light or sunlight alone or in combination with medication if medication alone does not improve symptoms

Step 3—Systemic: Medications taken internally (usually oral medication) to treat psoriasis systemically if topical medications and/or phototherapy do not improve symptoms

Your treatment will be based on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the disease
  • The extent and location of the areas involved
  • Your responsiveness to each treatment
  • What type of psoriasis you have
  • Possible concomitant presence of psoriatic arthritis

Often, the body will become resistant to certain types of treatment, and they will lose their effectiveness. When this happens, new treatment methods may be prescribed, and future treatments may be added as needed.

Treatment involves the following:

Medications
Other treatments
Alternative and complementary therapies

Surgical procedures are not a treatment option for psoriasis.

References:

Lam J, Polifka JE, et al. Safety of dermatologic drugs used in pregnant patients with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Apr 12.

Psoriasis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116742/Psoriasis. Updated September 5, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.

Ting PT, Koo JY. Use of etanercept in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. Int J Dermatol. 2006;45:689-692.



Last reviewed November 2015. by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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