4 Things a Dermatologist Wants You to Know About Psoriasis Management

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4 Things a Dermatologist Wants You to Know About Psoriasis Management

Psoriatic Arthritis
Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD
By Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD
Aug 17, 2020
4 Things a Dermatologist Wants You to Know About Psoriasis Management

If you’re one of the estimated 3 million Americans who suffer from red scaly plaques on the skin, the first thing dermatologists want you to know about psoriasis skin disease is that you shouldn’t give up hope.

While it is true that there is no cure for psoriasis, there are many scientists, doctors, and researchers investing a lot of time, and money into finding a cure. In the meantime, because of this significant investment in research, many new medications and biologics continue to be discovered, which can help you to cope with both the physical impact and the emotional toll that a diagnosis of psoriasis can take. RxSaver™ offers coupons that may help you to save money on some of these medications.

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What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease, caused by an immune system dysregulation. In those who have psoriasis, the immune system speeds up the skin cell cycle. The skin cycle refers to the process of how long it takes the new skin cells formed at the lowest level of the epidermis to work their way up to the top level (surface) of the skin.

This expedited skin cycle leads to the appearance of red, scaly plaques of thick skin, often on the elbows, knees, back, and scalp. Psoriasis tends to run in families, with specific genes associated with certain types of psoriasis.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. It is a chronic condition, which can often be managed by medications, injections, and other treatments that suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Guttate Psoriasis

Unlike plaque psoriasis which manifests in thick, scaly, red plaques of skin, guttate psoriasis manifests as small teardrop-shaped plaques. Guttate psoriasis has been linked to specific inherited genes.

Nail Psoriasis

Nail psoriasis can be a painful condition, producing pits in your fingernails, causing them to change color, and/or causing them to separate from the nail bed (onycholysis).

Psoriatic Arthritis

Pain in the joints caused by inflammation may lead to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, even before skin lesions appear. This type of psoriasis is often first diagnosed by a rheumatologist, who is treating an individual for an autoimmune disorder(s).

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is the rarest and most severe form of psoriasis. Erythrodermic psoriasis covers much of the skin in red, irritated skin and plaques, and causes severe pain and itching.
How to Treat Psoriasis

Dermatologists want you to know that when it comes to treating psoriasis, you don’t have to go it alone. We know that skin diseases like psoriasis can be very stigmatizing, and impact your self-esteem.

Moreover, because plaques can bleed very easily (due to blood vessels being very close to the surface of the skin) we want to help you get relief as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are lots of treatments available, ranging from topical steroid treatments to biologics (injectables or infusions) to oral medication and light therapies.

Topical Steroids for Psoriasis

Mild cases of psoriasis may respond well to topical steroid creams. Known as corticosteroids, these creams and ointments work to reduce inflammation (swelling and redness) of plaques. Topical steroids used to treat psoriasis include hydrocortisone and betamethasone.

The RxSaver price for hydrocortisone at major retail pharmacies starts at $4.18

The RxSaver price for betamethasone at major retail pharmacies starts at $37.02

Oral Medication for Psoriasis

Otezla is an oral medication used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis. However, like all medication, Otezla has a risk of serious side effects, so your dermatologist will help you determine if this medication is right for you.

Biologic Injections for Psoriasis

There are many biologic injections or IV infusions available to treat psoriasis. Like all medications to treat psoriasis, biologic drugs are designed to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. Some of the many biologics available by injection or IV to treat psoriasis include Cosentyx, Taltz, Remicade, Enbrel, and Siliq.

Check Manufacturer Programs and Coupons

Biologic injections and IV infusions are typically expensive when it comes to cost. However, manufacturers offer coupons or savings programs to help patients afford the cost.

The manufacturers of Cosentyx, Taltz, Remicade, Enbrel, Siliq and Otezla may also offer payment programs or savings cards to help save money on these psoriasis treatments since most psoriasis treatments are brand medications and do not offer generic alternatives.

Prescription Drug Manufacturer Assistance
Otezla Otezla Support Plus
Cosentyz Cosentyx Connect
Taltz Taltz Together
Remicade Remicade CarePath
Enbrel Enbrel Support
Siliq Siliq Patience Assistance Program

Additionally, the RxSaver Advocacy Program, a prescription assistance program, was created to help those who are on high-cost prescription medications to afford their medication regardless of insurance status or income. The program offers relief on costs for brand name medication and expensive generic medications. There is no cost to apply to the program.

Light Therapy for Psoriasis

Treatment for psoriasis skin disease may include the use of light therapy. Because sunlight is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help slow the growth of skin cells, some patients with psoriasis may experience relief from therapies such as Ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy. Similarly, targeted laser therapies such as the excimer laser can provide effective Ultraviolet B to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

Misconceptions About Psoriasis

Dermatologists aim to set the record straight when it comes to misconceptions about psoriasis. We’ve seen too many patients who are in fear of being contagious when they are not. Other patients question whether inadequate hygiene led to the development of psoriasis when it did not. Others believe that like eczema, they will grow out of psoriasis, and unfortunately, that’s not likely. Barring very rare instances when patients develop post-streptococcal psoriasis, and ultimately do clear it, for most individuals, psoriasis will be a chronic condition.

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Psoriasis Self Care Tips

One of the best things you can do to treat psoriasis is to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if you develop plaques or other signs of psoriasis. Given the recent advances in telemedicine, for many patients, wait times to see a dermatologist have been significantly reduced, which means you can begin managing your psoriasis quickly. In addition to seeking treatment from a dermatologist for psoriasis, there are some self-care tips that you can begin following immediately which may help mitigate flare-ups.

  • Don’t smoke, or stop smoking if you currently smoke
  • Avoid online forums, which may be filled with false information or discouraging posts
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Practice stress management (mindful meditation, exercise, and other healthy behaviors)
  • Remain hopeful

There is a great deal to be hopeful about when it comes to living with psoriasis skin disease. Although we haven’t found a cure yet, proper dermatologic care, along with living a healthy lifestyle, can help you to successfully manage psoriasis.

Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD

Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD

Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, is a board-certified and nationally-acclaimed dermatologic surgeon. Widely celebrated for her expertise in neurotoxins, injectable fillers and chemical peels, she provides a wide range of treatments including fat removal, mole excision, Mohs surgery, and skin cancer treatment. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, and American College of Mohs Surgery. She regularly appears as a dermatologic expert on national shows including Good Morning America, TODAY, The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, Inside Edition & many more. Dr. Engelman is the Dermatology expert for RxSaver.

The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.