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Treatments for Psoriasis

Treatment of psoriasis is usually a series of steps, called the 1-2-3 approach, which entails:

Step 1—Topical: Medication applied directly to the surface of the skin

Step 2—Phototherapy: Phototherapy (light treatment) using ultraviolet light or sunlight alone or in combination with medication if medication alone does not improve symptoms

Step 3—Systemic: Medications taken internally (usually oral medication) to treat psoriasis systemically if topical medications and/or phototherapy do not improve symptoms

Your treatment will be based on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the disease
  • The extent and location of the areas involved
  • Your responsiveness to each treatment
  • What type of psoriasis you have
  • Possible concomitant presence of psoriatic arthritis

Often, the body will become resistant to certain types of treatment, and they will lose their effectiveness. When this happens, new treatment methods may be prescribed, and future treatments may be added as needed.

Treatment involves the following:

MedicationsOther treatmentsAlternative and complementary therapies

Surgical procedures are not a treatment option for psoriasis.

Revision Information

  • Lam J, Polifka JE, et al. Safety of dermatologic drugs used in pregnant patients with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Apr 12.

  • Psoriasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 18, 2015. Accessed November 24, 2015.

  • Ting PT, Koo JY. Use of etanercept in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. Int J Dermatol. 2006;45:689-692.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Parkridge Health System does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.