What Is The Outlook For People With Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic (ongoing and persistent) skin disorder. Treatment can often control the disease for long periods. However, none of the available treatments is a cure. The disease can come back when treatment stops. Research continues to find more effective treatments and, eventually, a cure for psoriasis. Early results from studies underway to show the effectiveness of using laser therapy to treat psoriasis have been encouraging. In addition, several new biological therapies are in development. The FDA approved the first biological therapy – alefacept – in January 2003.

People who have psoriasis often find that there are times when their skin worsens and times when it improves. Psoriasis can flare up as a result of triggering factors that vary from one individual to another. These triggering factors include skin injury, climate change, infection, drug reactions, and stress.

The severity of psoriasis varies widely. In some people the disease responds readily to treatment, but in other people it does not. People with a mild form of the disease that responds to treatment can lead normal lives. For people whose psoriasis is more severe or harder to treat, however, controlling the disease can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience that seriously impairs their ability to hold a job and lead a normal life.

Finding the most effective treatment for psoriasis can involve a lot of trial and error. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Treatment varies depending on several factors, including what type of psoriasis a person has, how much of the skin is affected and how badly, and how a person has responded to psoriasis treatment in the past.

A combination of two or more treatments may be more effective than any single treatment. People with severe and extensive psoriasis may get the most relief and may avoid or reduce side effects by rotating treatments over time.

People with psoriasis can find it helpful to develop a long-term relationship with a dermatologist who is knowledgeable about psoriasis and to work with the doctor to find the treatment, or combination of treatments, that produces the best results for them. The wide range of treatments available means that most people with psoriasis can be helped. It make take persistence, however, to find the treatment that offers the best results while minimizing side effects.

As a result of their personal experiences trying to find the treatment that works best for them, people with psoriasis become highly educated about their disease. They and their family members often benefit from participation in groups that offer social and emotional support and share information and experiences.

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