Biologics and XTRAC for Psoriasis
While we look ahead to the warmer spring days, we must continue to manage the negative effects that cold and dry conditions have on our skin. Unfortunately, many people have skin issues that tend to worsen with the colder seasons. Individuals with psoriasis may be particularly impacted. Psoriasis is a genetic condition involving the immune system which causes skin rashes and in some cases joint pain and swelling. Most commonly the rash appears as raised, dry, scaly patches on the skin. Any area of the body can be affected, and severe itching can often accompany the rash. The exact cause of psoriasis remains unknown, and there is no known cure.
Fortunately, over the past decade, our treatment options for those suffering with psoriasis have greatly expanded. Now, even in the most difficult cases, dramatic improvement of psoriasis can often be achieved. In fact, with treatment many of our patients will see their psoriasis plaques clear more than 75%. Our management of psoriasis has been revolutionized by the introduction of what are referred to as “biologic medications”. These include Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Stelara.
The biologics work by blocking specific components of the immune system that are responsible for the skin rashes and joint inflammation due to psoriasis. Unlike many older medications, the biologic medications are given by self-injection, in-office injection, or IV infusion. Their onset of action is usually within the first three months, and is enhanced by use of topical medications at the same time. People who use biologic medications generally maintain excellent results over long periods of time. With high safety levels and amazing efficacy, the biologic medications have truly changed the lives of many people. As with all medications, there are potential side effects that we will discuss with you in a medical visit to determine if these medications would be right for you.
At Advanced Dermatology, we also treat psoriasis with the XTRAC laser. Approved by the FDA for the treatment of psoriasis in 2000, the XTRAC laser is a very safe, painless and an effective targeted approach to psoriasis treatment. It utilizes a narrow-band ultraviolet light source to target specific areas of skin affected by psoriasis, while leaving unaffected areas untreated. Treatment sessions are usually scheduled twice weekly. XTRAC laser treatment is a great option for someone who doesn’t wish to use topical or systemic medications, or someone who is currently treating with medications but experiencing an inadequate response to treatment. In most instances, medical insurers cover the cost of XTRAC laser treatment. We will preauthorize the treatments with your insurance company and discuss with you, your out of pocket expenses before you begin therapy.
If you have been diagnosed with psoriasis or if you think you may have psoriasis contact Advanced Dermatology for a medical visit with Dr. Taub, Dr. Rubenstein, Steve Prus, PA-C or Emily Oehler, PA-C. With many safe and effective treatment options available, successful management of psoriasis has become achievable for the vast majority of patients.