Biologic Treatment for Psoriasis: 4 Things You Need to Know
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.
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