Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder characterized by erythematous papules and plaques covered with silvery scales appearing on the scalp, elbows, palms of the hands, knees, and soles of the feet. This is caused by an accelerated growth of epidermal cells—more than five times its normal rate. Less than 3% of the population of the United States is affected by psoriasis. More caucasians are affected than African-Americans and onset occurs between 10 and 30 years old.

Patients who have psoriasis are treated with antipsoriatic medications that loosen erythematous papules and plaques. However, patients usually experience periods of exacerbation and remission.

Psoriasis scales are loosened with keratolytics (salicylic acid, sulfur). Topical glucocorticoids are used for mild psoriasis. Other topical preparations that are effective for psoriasis include anthralin (Anthra-Derm, Lasan) and coal tar (Estar, PsoriGel).

Applications of 1% anthralin may cause erythema to occur and can stain clothing, skin, and hair. Coal tar products are available in shampoos, lotions, and creams. However, they have an unpleasant odor and can cause burning and stinging. Systemic toxicity does not occur with anthralin and coal tar.

Calcipotriene (Dovonex), a synthetic vitamin D3 derivative, is used to suppress cell proliferation, but it may cause local irritation, hypercalciuria, and hypercalcemia (increased calcium levels in urine).

Methotrexate, an anti-cancer drug, slows cellular growth and is prescribed to decrease the acceleration of epidermal cell growth in severe psoriasis. Etretinate (Tegison) is used for severe pustular psoriasis when other medications have failed. Etretinate has an anti-inflammatory effect and inhibits keratinization and proliferation of the epithelial cells.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) may also be used to suppress mitotic (cell division) activity. Photochemotherapy, a combination of ultraviolet radiation with a pso-ralen derivative, methoxsalen (photosensitive drug), is used to decrease proliferation of epidermal cells. This is called psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) and permits lower doses of drug and ultraviolet A to be used.

See Antipsoriatic in the Appendix. Detailed tables show doses, recommendations, expectations, side effects, contraindications, and more; available on the book's Web site (see URL in Appendix).

Natural Treatments For Psoriasis

Natural Treatments For Psoriasis

Do You Suffer From the Itching and Scaling of Psoriasis? Or the Chronic Agony of Psoriatic Arthritis? If so you are not ALONE! A whopping three percent of the world’s populations suffer from either condition! An incredible 56 million working hours are lost every year by psoriasis sufferers according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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