TREATMENTS FOR ECZEMA AND PSORIASIS
Standard treatments for psoriasis and eczema include:
Moisturizers- Moisturizers can be used to help relieve or stop the itching, dryness and scaling that is associated with eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Moisturizers can help boost the skin normal function to form a protective barrier. This barrier is to designed to protect us from getting a virus or bacteria. Overall moisturizers are safe and non-allergic. When ever possible moisturizers should be applied at least 3-4 times a day.
Coal Tar- has been used for many many years to help relieve itching and inflammation of the skin. The chemical make-up of the tar contain natural soothing properties. Coal tar has been used to treat eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis with very few side effects. However this treatment is not for everyone. First there is a strong smell that comes with coal tar, also it can be very messy to use. One of the side effect is that it can increase sun sensitivity and can cause irritation to most acute eczema, acute psoriasis or acute dermatitis. Finally the smell, may not bother you, but could offend other people around you.
Topical Immunomodulators- are also know as TIMS are a non steroid/anti-inflammatory medication to help treat eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. TIMS are known to cause a burning sensations. There is a study that shows that more than 80% of the patients that were treated with TIMS did improve or was completely clear of eczema. However there are the typical side-effects that come with any steroid.
Corticosteroids / Topical steroids – Topical steroid creams, lotions, gels, solution's, pills, injections or ointments are one of the most common treatments for mild to moderate eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Steroids can reduce the overall redness of the affected area, as well as reducing the itchiness. Steroids are formulated in a wide variety of potency and strengths. They come in varying strengths, from weak to highly potent. The longer a patients uses steroids the less effective it is. A side effect of the steroids becoming less effective is if the eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis does come back, the worse it will appear. Using high potent steroids for a long time can cause some other side effects such as thinning or redding of the skin. In some patients they have reported stretch marks.
Antibiotics- When our skin is damaged by injury, abrasion or cut. We are more acceptable to infection. Patients that have eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis seem to get infection more easier than other people. This is due to the scratching and digging at their skin to remove scales. In some cases antibiotics are needed to treat the infection and to treat the skin condition as well. There are some skin conditions that antibiotics will not treat such as contact eczema, contact psoriasis or contact dermatitis. Also consult you doctor about any side effects that the antibiotics you are taking, could or may cause or a period of time.
Antihistamines- can be helpful to control the itching and scratching that is very common with eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. There is a big side effect with antihistamines and that is drowsiness. They are some companies that make a non-drowsy from, but some patients still report that it makes them slightly sleepy. If a patient is taking the a regular antihistamines driving is not recommended.
Phototherapy- treatment is using ultraviolet light to treat eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Phototherapy is not only ultraviolet light, they also use psoralen with it. Psoralen is a drug that will increase the light sensitivity. There are a couple side effects with this type of therapy. First a patient has the chance of receiving a sun burn from the treatment. Another side effect is the increase risk of skin cancer.
Eczema-Ltd III. is a great option for individuals whose skin has been left sensitive and delicate by over-the-counter or prescription medications which often are messy, smelly, stain clothing, or thin the skin such as steroids. Skin appears more conditioned, even, elastic, and calm with Eczema-Ltd III. The ingredients of Eczema-Ltd are: zinc oxide, sodium chloride, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, iron oxide, copper oxide, and sulfur. Zinc oxide is well known for its ability to protect and heal the skin. Eczema-Ltd III is 100% safe for pregnant and nursing mothers and has no side effects whatsoever.
Psoriasis-Ltd III. is another great choice for a non-prescription psoriasis treatment. There is no messy ointments to use. It doesn't leave a slimy or greasy feeling on the skin, there is no smell to this product either. Psoriasis-Ltd III is safe for anyone to use. This product is made in the USA.
Dermatitis-Ltd III. has been around for a while. This product works well with those with dermatitis. The formula is designed for the skin, to promote the natural healing process of your skin. Dermatitis-Ltd III is safe for everyone. This product is made in the USA.
Sunshine. Like we mention in the standard treatment section phototherapy is an option, but there is nothing like the real thing. Setting some time to venture outside to receive the all natural sun rays can be very beneficial. Some doctors and labeled this type of treatment as climatotherapy. The patient should avoid getting sunburn as much as possible. Also to keep in mind to much sun over a long period of time(and years) can increase your chances of getting skin cancer. Patients should get regular annual checkups.
Retinoids. These drugs are related to Vitamin A. They normalize the growth of skin cells in psoriasis. A new retinoid, acitretin (Soriatane) was introduced in 1998, replacing etretinate (Tegison). This drug is useful in treating severe forms of psoriasis, such as Erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis that do not respond to other therapies. Retinoids are almost certain to cause birth defects. They cannot be used by pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, or their male partners. Women who take acitretin must avoid pregnancy for up to 3 years after they stop taking the drug. Women also must not drink alcohol while they are taking acitretin and for 2 months after they stop taking it. Alcohol can cause the drug to change to its chemical cousin, etretinate, in the blood. Etretinate can cause severe birth defects for many years after its use. Other possible side effects of retinoids are dry skin, chapped lips, dryness of the eyes and nasal passages, hair thinning, sun sensitivity, and bone spurs of the long bones or spine. The drugs may also increase blood levels of liver enzymes and triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood. Reducing the dose of the drug usually reduces these side effects. Another retinoid, isotretinoin (Accutane) is sometimes used to treat psoriasis. It may be helpful for some people, especially if combined with ultraviolet light treatment, but it is generally less effective than acitretin. Isotretinoin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat severe acne but not to treat psoriasis.
Methotrexate. Is a medication that can slow down the growth of new skin cells. It does it by interfering with the patient's DNA and slowing down the immune system. This medication is know to treat patient's with cancer. Methotrexate seems to be very helpful with patient's with extremely bad psoriasis. Most patients see great improvement within a 3-4 months after receiving their first treatment. For all the great this medication can do there are some side effects the patient should know about. For starters methotrexate can cause damage to the liver, also it can lower the white and red blood cell count and the platelets. We recommend that the patient go and get regular blood work done to verify that the liver, kidney and the blood level counts are in a normal range. This treatment is not recommended for women who are pregnant, mainly because there is evidence that it may cause birth defects.
Hydroxyurea. This drug reduces the build-up of dead skin cells by interfering with DNA. Like methotrexate, hydroxyurea is also used to treat cancer. In psoriasis, it may have fewer side effects than methotrexate or cyclosporine but it is also less effective. It is sometimes used in combination with ultraviolet light treatment. Possible side effects of hydroxyurea include anemia and a decrease in white blood cells and platelets. Like methotrexate and cyclosporine, it must not be used by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Cyclosporine. This medication is used mainly for patients that received an organ transplant. It is also used to treat patients with debilitating psoriasis who cannot receive a more normal medication or therapy. How cyclosporine works is by stopping the immune system, this then will slow down the growth of new skin cells. The downside to the mediation is that is can cause high blood pressure and damage the kidney. Women who are pregnant should not use this treatment. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant you should seek medical advice for how long you should be off this treatment.
Anthralin: Anthralin is a synthetic medication that has an effect on enzymes in the skin cells of people with psoriasis. It comes in a variety of strengths and in the form of an ointment, cream, or paste. Side effects include irritation of normal skin that is near patches of skin affected by psoriasis. A disadvantage of traditional formulations of anthralin has been that they temporarily stain skin, clothing, and furniture purplish-brown. However, a new formulation of anthralin has recently been introduced that will not stain household items. It is applied to the skin at body-surface temperature. Warm water releases the active ingredient in this product, so it should be washed out with cold water. In the so-called minute’s therapy, anthralin cream is applied to skin plaques for 30 minutes to 2 hours, and then thoroughly removed with a detergent-based soap and water. Over a period of weeks, redness and scales decrease and plaques gradually flatten. In the Ingram regimen, anthralin paste is applied to widespread plaques of psoriasis. This is followed by a tar bath and ultraviolet light treatment. This regimen produces significant clearing in about 3 weeks at a supervised day-treatment center.
Calcipotriene. Also called calcipotriol or Dovonex7, this medication is a chemical cousin of Vitamin D3. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995. It is odorless and non-staining. It comes in the form of an ointment or cream. A calcipotriene solution is available to treat scalp psoriasis. Calcipotriene is most effective for mild to moderate psoriasis. It can irritate the skin and is not recommended for use on the face or genitals. Use of calcipotriene in combination with a topical steroid, or diluted with petroleum jelly, may reduce irritation and increase effectiveness. Calcipotriene may also be used in combination with ultraviolet light treatment. Calcipotriene's safety for the treatment of psoriasis that affects more than 20% of the skin is unknown. Using it on widespread areas of the skin may raise the amount of calcium in the body to unhealthy levels. Vitamin D3 is not the same as the Vitamin D found in over-the-counter vitamin supplements. Vitamin D3 should not be taken by mouth because it may raise blood calcium levels and increase the risk of kidney stones.
Tazarotene: This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoids, which are chemical cousins of Vitamin A. Also known as Tazorac7, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. It is a clear, water-based gel that is recommended for the treatment of mild to moderate psoriasis. Tazarotene clears skin more slowly than topical steroids but has fewer side effects. It may be used in combination with topical steroids or ultraviolet light treatment. Tazarotene can be irritating to normal skin and should be used with caution in skin folds. Like other retinoids, tazarotene can cause birth defects. Pregnant women must not use it. Women of childbearing age who use it must also use an effective method of birth control.
Dithranol is derived from a natural product, chrysarobin, the active constituent of Goa powder, derived from the bark of a Brazilian tree. It is an extremely effective treatment for chronic plaque psoriasis. Its main disadvantage is that it stains the skin (temporarily) and clothes (permanently). It burns normal skin, so must be very carefully applied to the plaques only. Always start with a low concentration and gradually increase the strength. These are the mainstay of treatment for psoriasis of the face, flexures and genital area. They are often combined with coal tar. The quantity used must be carefully supervised to avoid unwanted side effects, which should not occur if used properly. When used alone they usually just suppress the psoriasis rather than actually clearing it (like tar or dithranol). Since they are cosmetically acceptable, they may be prescribed for use in the morning when the patient has to wear smart clothes for work, etc. in conjunction with messier treatments for home use later.
Primrose Oil. A few years ago, primrose oil was touted as a topical therapy for hand eczema, but it later was shown not to work. In November 1998, an American Medical Association journal, Archives of Dermatology, published a report listing several other plant extracts being used for skin conditions similar to eczema: calendula officinalis (marigold); chamomile; witch hazel; licorice root; and aloe vera gel. Unfortunately, a history of use doesn't necessarily translate to a history of effectiveness. Indeed, some of these substances, or their vehicle gel/lotion, may worsen your condition.