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Simplifying Treatment for Psoriasis

Recent advances have expanded the options for treating psoriasis, which could help the roughly one in three people whose symptoms are poorly controlled finally get lasting relief.

Itching that can make it difficult to think about anything else, and raised, red or purplish patches of skin that can eat away at an individual’s self-confidence.

If you have psoriasis that’s not well-controlled, you’ll recognize these symptoms.

One of the reasons people can end up living with these symptoms long term is that while we do have effective medications, often treatment regimens can be complicated and inconvenient.

For example, topical corticosteroid creams can calm the inappropriate immune response in the skin that causes psoriasis symptoms. 

On the plus side, these are relatively inexpensive. However, one of the major drawbacks is that if more than one area of the body is affected, someone might need two, three, or even four different prescriptions. 

Why? The creams come in a variety of strengths that have to be matched to the thickness and sensitivity of the skin in the treated area. For instance, a cream that’s mild enough for the face and groin won’t work in places where the skin is thicker and tougher, such as the elbows and knees. And using a product that’s too concentrated can lead to unwanted side-effects, such as thinning of the skin, and a scar-like appearance. What’s more, each of these creams typically need to be applied twice a day. 

Needless to say, keeping track of several prescriptions, and using them consistently twice a day is a pain. And there’s good evidence that the more complicated the treatment, the less likely someone is to consistently stick to it. In fact, many people simply run out of steam, and stop.

A new type of non-steroidal medication can greatly simplify topical treatment regimens for psoriasis. It can be used anywhere on the body, so requires only a single prescription. Plus, you only need to put it on once a day. 

I had the opportunity to speak with someone who enrolled in a clinical trial of this new treatment, which was later approved by Health Canada, and is now available by prescription.

For the first time in decades, he’s nearly symptom free. 

Writing sponsored content is different from straight health journalism. But I love the work I get to do in both spheres. Because in both cases, I get to talk to people about how their lives have been affected by some kind of health challenge, and tell their stories. And I’m also lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn about advances in research that have the power to improve the lives of people with serious illnesses. 

Here’s one such story, which I wrote for PostMedia Content Works— ‘Living With Psoriasis: The Risks of Letting Self-Consciousness Impede Treatment’.

Image by Eszter Miller Courtesy of Pixab