A new type of preparation, based on Vitamin D, may improve the treatment of mild to moderate cases. This ointment, called calcifortriol (brand name: Daivonex), is more convenient to use than those containing coal tar derivatives and safer than those containing cortisone. According to recent studies in Great Britain, hundreds of patients reported an improvement after using this product, without experiencing any significant side effects. Since its use is limited to 100 grams a week, it is unsuitable for treating cases of widespread psoriasis.
One of the greatest achievements in dermatology in the last few years was the development of a group of medications called the retinoids. These drugs, whose chemical composition is close to that of Vitamin A, brought about a breakthrough in the treatment of certain skin diseases, psoriasis among them.
One of these drugs, called Tigason, is suitable for the treatment of the severe cases of psoriasis which do not respond to ointments or phototherapy. Since this drug is teratogenic (may cause abnormalities in fetuses), it may not be taken within two years before a planned pregnancy, and any women of child-bearing age who does take it is required to use some sort of contraceptive device. An additional disadvantage of Tigason is that it produces a sticky sensation on the skin, slight peeling around the lips and fingernails and in rare instances an increase in blood lipids or an impairment of liver function. Despite these side effects, it is a particularly effective drug and greatly improves the quality of the patients’ lives.
Within the last few years out-patient clinics have been opened for psoriasis treatment. These clinics give the patients topical treatments during 3-4 hours, after which the patient is exposed to 10-20 minutes of ultraviolet radiation. The advantage of this method is that the patient can continue his or her regular routine without long hospital stays or trips to the Dead Sea. An additional advantage is that the patient comes home without any visible signs of having undergone treatment and does not have to use any unpleasant-smelling creams or ointments at home.
CAN PSORIASIS BE COMPLETELY CURED?
Unfortunately, psoriasis cannot be completely cured. No drug has yet been developed which can prevent psoriasis attacks once and for all. Proper treatment, however, can cause a remission for long periods of months or even years. This is possible if the treatment is geared to the severity of the disease and if treatment is continued even when there are very few symptoms present. Regular treatment of the disease even when it is in remission can prevent its worsening at a later stage.
Dr. Yoram Harth - more Info.