Archive for the ‘Skin Care’ Category

SKIN DISORDERS IN ADULTS: ORAL DRUGS AND NEW THERAPIES FOR PSORIASIS

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Oral drugs for psoriasis
Oral medications are used in severe cases of psoriasis. The most common of these is Methotrexate. Methotrexate is extremely effective but does carry a small risk of long-term liver damage. Nonetheless, if it is used in low doses, and the liver is carefully monitored, it can be relatively safely used.
Tigason, which is a vitamin A derivative, is another newer drug used in treating psoriasis. It is best used in combination with PUVA (Oral Psoralen plus ultraviolet A light), not being terribly effective on its own. Tigason seems to protect the skin from developing skin cancers, which is a particular advantage when it is combined with ultraviolet light. On the other hand, Tigason must never be used in women of child-bearing age, as it is a major cause of birth defects.
New therapies for psoriasis
There has been something of an explosion in the search for new psoriasis treatments. Recent developments include:
- Vitamin D creams. The last five years have seen the emergence of vitamin D creams in the treatment of mild psoriasis. Although vitamin D tablets were used initially, they were found to be too toxic, producing high levels of calcium in the bloodstream. Vitamin D creams, however, are safe and are as effective as strong cortisone creams, without the risk of skin thinning. Vitamin D creams are currently available in Europe and hopefully will be on the Australian market within a few years.
- Cyclosporin. This drug is extremely effective for treating severe forms of psoriasis, but at the present time is used exclusively in organ transplantation. Cyclosporin acts on the immune system, preventing rejection of foreign organs, yet how it works in psoriasis remains a mystery. The main problem with Cyclosporin is the long-term risk of kidney damage and this requires further investigation.
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