Navigation Links
After Fits and Starts, New Hope for Psoriasis Patients
Date:8/25/2008

Doctors tout drugs called biologics during Psoriasis Awareness Month

MONDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Psoriasis can be a maddening disease.

Patches of thick, inflamed skin covered with silvery scales form here and there on the patient's body, often on the elbows, knees, other parts of the legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of the feet. They usually itch or feel sore, and the more of the patches there are, generally, the worse the person suffers.

And because psoriasis is a genetic condition that causes inflammation by striking at the immune system, it can have other health effects. An estimated 10 percent to 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joints, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Psoriasis sufferers also have higher rates of cardiovascular disease and other systemic health problems, said Dr. Jennifer Cather, a Dallas dermatologist and a member of the Baylor University Medical Center's Division of Dermatology.

"Often patients think psoriasis is just a rash, [but] it is a systemic inflammatory disease with far-reaching affects," Cather said. "Patients should be aware of that and understand that controlling that systemic inflammation can help with other diseases."

That's a message doctors are looking to share during August, Psoriasis Awareness Month.

Until recently, there was little that could be done about the systemic damage done by psoriasis. Sufferers used topical creams to ease their itches or aches, or underwent expensive ultraviolet light treatments that disrupted the surface spread of psoriasis but did not address the underlying problems within the immune system.

But the past few years have seen the development of a new wave of drug treatments known as biologics. These medications do what previous treatments could not -- go after the root of the problem by influencing the immune system.

"It's really changed the way we can treat psoriasis," said Dr. Lawrence Green, assistant professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. "It really has made life much more tolerable for patients."

Psoriasis occurs when the body's immune system is somehow mistakenly triggered, which speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Normal skin cells mature and fall off the body in 28 to 30 days. A psoriatic skin cell takes just three to four days to mature and move to the surface, and, instead of falling off, the cells pile up and form lesions.

According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis.

Biologics are made from human or animal proteins, and they treat psoriasis by going after the overactive immune cells causing the disease.

"They are based on natural processes," Green said. "They're similar to chemicals or compounds we already have in our system. They help lessen immune responses. They help soak up or diminish the extra inflammatory compounds."

Currently, five biologics are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of psoriasis, and three of those five are approved for psoriatic arthritis. Biologics are effective, and they also are more affordable than ultraviolet therapy, the other leading treatment for dealing with medium-to-severe cases of psoriasis, according to dermatologists.

Ultraviolet light kills the immune cells in the skin that are causing the problem, Cather said. The problem is, a person must come in three to five times a week for treatment, racking up hundreds of dollars in co-payments.

Biologics, by comparison, are self-administered through injection. The patient usually must inject the medication somewhere between twice-weekly to once every other week, Cather said.

Patients undergoing biologic therapy need to have periodic re-evaluations by their dermatologist to check for the development of new symptoms, including infections and potential cancers, according to guidelines issued earlier this year by the American Academy of Dermatology.

More information

To learn more about psoriasis, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Jennifer Cather, M.D., Dallas dermatologist, member, Baylor University Medical Center's Division of Dermatology; Lawrence Green, M.D., assistant professor, dermatology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C.; National Psoriasis Foundation; U.S. National Institutes of Health


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Undecided Voters Not So Undecided After All
2. Statins Help Obese People After Bypass Surgery
3. Weight Loss After Diabetes Diagnosis Offers Big Benefits: Study
4. Losing weight soon after type 2 diabetes diagnosis doubles positive outcomes
5. Losing Weight After Diabetes Diagnosis can Prevent Diabetes-Related Disease, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds
6. GI Bleeding After Stroke Raises Death Risk
7. Wheezing after early-life antibiotics
8. 30 Years After State of Emergency Declared at Love Canal, NY Closing the 99th Street School Triggering the Federal Superfund Program; Schools & Communities Across the Nation Still at Risk of Toxic Contamination
9. Klafter & Olsen LLP Announces That It Has Filed a Class Action Lawsuit Against ArthroCare Corporation on Behalf of Common Stock Holders and Certain Traders in ArthroCare Options
10. After ER visit, many patients in a fog, U-M study finds
11. LSUHSC study finds high-dose HBO2 therapy extends survival window after cardiopulmonary arrest
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... June 26, 2017 , ... If the devil is in ... red these days. According to recent estimates, 75 – 80% of the medical ... Some studies point to Electronic Health Records (EHR) with automated features designed to ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2017 , ... Create a feel-good lyric music video ... above footage and sound in the timeline and write in the lyrics to any song. ... flying back out. Each line of the text can be added modularly for optimal control. ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... , ... June 25, 2017 , ... With a heatwave currently bearing down on Northern ... out at the pool. Being swimsuit ready is easy with laser hair removal. , ... again can be a burdensome routine when all you want to do is get out, ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... ... June 24, 2017 , ... Dr. ... 217 Portion Road in Lake Ronkonkoma, Dental365 offers patients high-quality and affordable routine ... visits to the dentist fit into their patients’ busy lifestyles. Dental365 also gladly ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... "The Better Care Reconciliation ... significant harm to people with all chronic conditions, including mental illnesses, while increasing ... place the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions, it ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/7/2017)... , June 7, 2017  Novavax, Inc., (Nasdaq: ... two Phase 2 trials of its RSV F protein recombinant ... bearing age have been published in the journal ... been shared in prior scientific conferences). The Company previously announced ... 2014. Novavax is developing the RSV F Vaccine with the ...
(Date:6/5/2017)... -- The Cincinnati location of Diplomat ... DPLO), has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2017 ... are based on an employee survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, ... The survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, ... ...
(Date:6/3/2017)... , June 3, 2017  Eli Lilly ... announced that results from the Phase 3 MONARCH ... (CDK)4 & 6 inhibitor, in combination with fulvestrant, ... with fulvestrant alone in women with hormone-receptor-positive (HR+), ... breast cancer who have relapsed or progressed after ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: