When OTC Psoriasis Treatment is No Longer Enough

Patient Expert

With so many treatment options out there to treat psoriasis, knowing when to switch medications is always the question of the day for psoriasis patients. From over the counter medications, to herbal medicines to biologics and more, psoriasis patients are inundated with a slew of medication options.

Over the counter medications always seem to be the first line of defense due to their lack of side effects and ease of obtaining the medication.

But when OTC medications fail to do the job and too much skin is affected, there are other options out there including: light therapy, biologics, tar baths, steroids, oral tablets.

To help you through that journey, it’s important to understand the severity of your psoriasis and the other medication options available to you.

  • Mild psoriasis covers less than 3 percent of the body which usually can be treated topically with over the counter medication.

  • Moderate psoriasis covers between 3 to 10 percent of the body.

  • Severe psoriasis covers more than 10 percent of your body.

  • Moderate to severe psoriasis is usually treated with a combination of other medications.

When creams just won't cut it

You may want to consider these other options for psoriasis management:

  • Light therapy: Phototherapy or light therapy, involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light on a regular basis and under medical supervision. Different types of light therapy include the following. Talk to your dermatologist to determine the best route for you.

  • Ultraviolet light B (UVB)

  • Sunlight

  • Psoralen + UVA (PUVA)

  • Laser Treatments

  • Tanning beds

  • Biologics: are given by injections and target specific parts of the immune system. Because of the complicated characteristics of psoriasis, each biologic will affect psoriasis patients differently. It’s important to speak with your dermatologist and review benefits, risks and duration of medication to see if your lifestyle will accommodate it.

  • Coal Tar Baths: works by stopping the action of enzymes that contribute to psoriasis, and helps prevent new cell production. Tar baths are usually used in combination with light therapy.

  • Steroids: work by decreasing inflammation, blocking cell production and relieve itching. Your dermatologist can increase the potency depending on the severity of your psoriasis.

  • Oral Tablets: have been around for decades which means there is enough research out there on the risks and benefits. Oral tablets work by specifically targeting molecules inside immune cells.

Your doctor is there to help you with your treatment options. It’s important to update your doctor on any side effects you may be having or if you feel like the medication isn’t working for you. You and your dermatologist should work together to find the best options to treat your psoriasis.