What is plaque psoriasis and what treatment options can people consider? written by: mischavladimir While plaque psoriasis may initially look like a mere skin condition, it’s basically a disease of the immune system, but good news is that the current plaque psoriasis treatment is quite effective and will allow people to feel much better.
In individuals suffering from plaque psoriasis, certain immune cells are activated and start overproducing inflammatory proteins such as TNF or tumor necrosis factor. As a result, the skin cells will start growing too fast and form red, raised patches mostly with a silvery scale, known as plaques. The plaques can bleed, be painful and also itchy. Overall, plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis and it affects around 1,5 million Americans.
Plaque psoriasis symptoms
People who develop a rash that won’t go away even after they’ve used OTC medications should get in touch with their doctor. [note]The doctor will look for red and raised scales that have well defined edges and before making a diagnosis, they’ll consider how the rash will respond to medication. [/note]This form of psoriasis will generally be found on the soles of feet, the palms, the face, the lower back, the scalp and on the outside of elbows and knees. When biopsied, plaque psoriasis will look inflamed and thicker when compared with eczema.
Overview of Treatment
Because it’s a chronic skin condition, any attempt to treating it must be considered for the long term. Treatment regimens will thus need to be individualized based on personal motivation, occupation, sex, age, other health conditions and available resources.
The severity of the condition is not only defined by the extent and number of plaques present, but also by the individual’s acceptance and perception of the disease. [note]Therefore, the treatment needs to be designed considering the individual’s specific expectations and not necessarily the extent of the body surface area affected.[/note]
While there are many treatments for psoriasis, devising an effective therapeutic regimen is not really complicated. For the overall management of psoriasis there are 3 basic treatment modalities available.
- Systemic agents
- Topical agents
These treatments may be used in combination or alone as following:
- Systemic medications are a special type of drug that basically runs throughout the body. Most of the times they will be used for people suffering from severe or moderate psoriasis whose symptoms are unresponsive to other treatments and for psoriatic arthritis sufferers.
- Phototherapy involves the exposure of the patient’s affected body surface area to UV light on a regular basis and only under medical supervision. The treatment can be considered at home with a phototherapy unit or in a health care provider’s office.
- Topical treatments without and with steroids are generally the main choice in treating psoriasis. Prescription topical treatments will reduce inflammation and also slow down skin cell growth.
In young to middle aged males, alcohol is considered a risk factor, so everyone suffering from psoriasis should minimize or avoid alcohol intake. Other than that, specific supplements or dietary restrictions asides from an adequate and well balanced diet are insignificant in the management of plaque psoriasis.
ENBREL: A widely used plaque psoriasis treatment option
ENBREL is used for treating plaque psoriasis and it basically affects the immune system, lowering the body’s ability of fighting infections. Those taking this drug will expose themselves to various infections, such as infections caused by bacteria that have spread throughout the body, but also fungi, viruses and TB. [note]In some cases, patients have even died from such infections, so before taking ENBREL, individuals will have to be tested for TB by their doctor. [/note]Even if they test negative for it, patients will be monitored closely for TB, before, during and after the treatment.
Several cases of unusual cancers have been reported in teenage and children patients who started using TNF blockers before eighteen years of age. Also, for adults, teenagers and children taking ENBREL or other TNF blockers, the chances of getting various types of cancers including lymphoma are high. Patients with psoriasis or RA also have increased chances of getting lymphoma.
There are various points to consider before anyone starts taking ENBREL and they should tell their doctor if they:
- Have been around people with chicken pox.
- Are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning on getting pregnant.
- Are allergic to latex or rubber.
- Are scheduled for vaccines or have recently received vaccines. Patients taking ENBREL are not allowed to receive live vaccines.
- Will have any kind of surgery soon.
- Are taking various anti-diabetic medications.
- Have had or have heart failure.
- Have had or have hepatitis B.
- Have been in close contact with people suffering from TB or have TB.
- Have a weak immune system, HIV or diabetes.
- Have any sores or open cuts.
- Have any signs or are treated for any type of infection.
- Are taking any kind of medications.
- Have any existing medical conditions.
ENBEL side effects
Those taking ENBREL will expose themselves to a series of severe side effects and they include:
- Autoimmune reactions.
- Allergic reactions.
- Worsening or new psoriasis.
- Worsening or new heart failure.
- Blood problems which in some cases are fatal.
- Inflammation of the eye nerves, seizures or multiple sclerosis.
- Nervous system problems.
- If the individual already has it, hepatitis B can become active.
- Worsening of the infections the individual already has or new infections.
Common side effects
The more common side effects of people taking ENBREL include headaches, upper respiratory infections and injection site reactions.
Who should consider ENBREL as an effective treatment option?
ENBREL is a good alternative for everyone who suffers from plaque psoriasis and is at least eighteen years of age, suffering from severe or moderate plaque psoriasis and being good candidates for phototherapy and systemic therapy. In medical studies, almost 50% of the patients saw a 75 percent skin clearance in just three months. [note]Overall, three out of four patients noticed a 50 percent skin clearance in just three months.[/note]
Plaque psoriasis is affecting millions of people in the US and in most cases it can very much affect the individual’s lifestyle and self esteem. Because of that, people are encouraged to get in touch with their doctor from the very first symptoms so he can prescribe them an individualized plaque psoriasis treatment.