Scalp Psoriasis : Treatment and Care
Skin Care Network
Scalp Psoriasis Treatment:

Treating Scalp Psoriasis: Systemic Treatments

Systemic treatments are sometimes recommended for the treatment of severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, a condition where the limbs become inflamed due to an abnormal immune response.

As the name suggests, these treatments treat the entire system, and thus will have a powerful effect on the body as well as psoriasis, and will only be recommended when the earlier steps in the ladder are found to be ineffective. Some examples of systemic treatments that are used for psoriasis include: Methotrexate, Neoral® (Cyclosporine), and Soriatane® (Acitretin).

Systemic Treatment Benefits:

  • Effective on psoriasis that may have been resistant to treatments that are lower on the ladder
  • Improvement can be seen within several weeks
  • Extremely convenient-Many systemic are in pill form, and are often taken 1-3 times a week
  • Powerful drug that can treat not only scalp psoriasis, but lesions that cover other areas of the bod

Systemic Treatment Drawbacks:

  • Common side-effects include mild headaches, skin irritation, and mild nausea
  • Severe side-effects such as liver damage, depression, and hair loss
  • Many systemic drugs cause birth defects, and cannot be used during pregnancy, and patients taking such drugs will often be unable to donate blood while being treated
  • Due to its immunosuppressing effects, not all patients will be eligible
  • Blood tests and periodic monitoring will often be required, and there may be other lifestyle restrictions depending on the drug
  • When the medication is tapered off, the psoriasis may rebound, becoming worse than it originally was

Systemic treatments are generally not recommended for patients with psoriasis that is limited to the scalp area. They are generally reserved for patients with severe widespread psoriasis, or those with psoriatic arthritis. Systemic treatments will treat psoriatic arthritis, and psoriasis in other areas of the body, as well as psoriasis that affect the scalp. As these medications can have severe consequences, it is important that you communicate well with your doctor, and make your decision with full knowledge of the potential benefits and risks.

© Scalp Psoriasis .CA 2011