Before you learn about biologic treatments, learn about your psoriasis. Psoriasis is more than just itchy rashes, scales, and dry patches on the surface of your skin. Psoriasis is actually an autoimmune disease where the cells of your immune system mistakenly treat the healthy cells in your body as foreign cells. When your immune system detects foreign intruders, it dispatches a troop of proteins (a.k.a. autoantibodies) to attack healthy cells.
These interactions among cells in your immune system are responsible for triggering psoriasis. Now that you know what causes psoriasis, you may wonder how biologic treatments play a part.
4 Things You Need To Know About Biologic Treatment For Psoriasis:
1. Protein-Based Treatment Engineered From Living Cells
First things first, what are biologic treatments?
Unlike most drugs that are chemically-engineered compounds, biologic treatments are protein-based drugs genetically-engineered from living cells. These drugs mimic your body, and produce proteins that block interactions between other cells in your immune system to normalise your psoriasis. You are likely to find these treatments administered by injection. Continuous treatment is recommended to obtain sustained clear skin.
2. Biologic Treatment For Psoriasis Can Clear Your Psoriasis by 75-100%
How will you know whether biologic treatment is right for you?
Biologic treatment for psoriasis clears psoriasis effectively. Chances are good, you may be able to see up to 75-100% improvement in clearing your psoriasis lesions within a couple of months1,2. Biologic treatment is recommended for moderate to severe psoriasis, i.e. if more than 3% of the surface area of your body is covered with psoriasis lesions (1% is about equivalent to the surface area of your palm)3,4. If you have not been responding well to topical or systemic treatment, you might want to ask your dermatologist about biologic options.
3. When Psoriasis Significantly Impacts Your Quality of Life
You may consider biologic treatment when psoriasis takes such a heavy toll on the quality of your life, or if you starts having joint pain, a condition called psoriatic arthritis. Specifically, if your condition prevents you from carrying out daily activities such as commuting to work, studying in school, performing at work, and shopping for groceries. To evaluate how psoriasis affects your quality of life, take a simple questionnaire (called Dermatology Quality of Life Index, DLQI). It has 10 questions, and only takes two minutes to complete. Higher score indicates that your psoriasis has a large impact on your quality of life. You may want to discuss your treatment options with your dermatologist.
4. Mind The Risks Of Biologic Treatment
With advancement in science, there are newer and more effective treatments for psoriasis. Medication often comes with potential side effects. For biologic treatment, you may be more susceptible to infection because biologic treatments suppress your overactive immune system. Discuss your risk and precaution that you can take with your dermatologist before starting any biologic treatment.
In general, do not start or take your biologic treatment if you have an on-going serious infection. Look out for any signs of infection such as fever, open sores, or cuts.
Alert your dermatologist immediately. Discuss with your dermatologist if you are planning to get pregnant, or if you are pregnant during the course of treatment. When in doubt, always consult your dermatologist.
Dare To Ask Your Dermatologist For Clear Skin
Never give up. Never stop seeking clear skin. There are many effective treatments to help manage your psoriasis symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist today and dare to ask for clear skin.
You are not alone with psoriasis.
Join the conversation. Bookmark our page; do not miss out on tips to cope with psoriasis and get clear skin.
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See also: 7 Tips To Effectively Manage Types Of Psoriasis While On Biologics
Dr Ch’ng obtained his specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians in London. Subsequently, he obtained his Advanced Masters in Dermatology from the National University of Malaysia. He was previously the Head of Dermatology of the State of Pahang and Hospital Sungai Buloh.
His call to dermatology started way before he even contemplated doing medicine. His father suffered from severe psoriasis, and was in and out of hospital a lot in the late 1970s. His father’s condition made him see that skin disease is not just an aesthetic problem, as it can cause the patient and the entire family so much grief. His practice today reaffirms his belief, with many patients expressing deep relief and gratitude after their treatment.
Place of Practice
Dr. Ch'ng is a NSR registered consultant dermatologist. She graduated as a gold medalist from Univeristy Malaya in 2006. She obtained Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physician of the United Kingdom in 2010 and joined dermatology team in University Malaya in the same year. She completed Advanced Master in Dermatology (UKM) in 2014 and a visiting fellowship in Cutaneous Laser Surgery in Mahidol University (Thailand) in 2017. Her special interest include acne, psoriasis, urticaria, contact dermatitis/eczema and procedural dermatology.
Dr. Ch'ng started her instagram account @cccskindoc providing free skin care tips and education to public. She believes everyone deserves up-to-date and accurate information on skin care to embrace the skin that he or she is in.
Place of Practice
Dr Khor graduated from National University of Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur in 2002. He obtained his Internal Medicine specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2007 and further subspecialized in Dermatology by obtaining his Advanced Master in Dermatology from UKM in 2013. Dr Khor served as the Head of Dermatology service for Perlis from 2013 to 2015 before transferring back to Penang. Currently, he is the Deputy Head of Department of Dermatology in Hospital Pulau Pinang. He is also a visiting consultant dermatologist at KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital and Northern Skin Specialist Clinic.
Dr Khor is active in academic activities, performing as an honorary lecturer for Allianze University College of Medical Sciences and Penang Medical College. He is active in research as well with the publication of original papers in dermatological journals and serves as a reviewer for Malaysian Journal of Dermatology. His dedication to the profession earned him Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Health in 2009 and 2017.
Place of Practice