In the United States, psoriasis affects approximately two percent of the population and there are 150,000 new cases each year. It is a chronic skin condition that can occur over a large percentage of the body, but it is usually found on very characteristic sites such as the elbows, knees, nails and scalp. Although psoriasis is very common in some families, it is not a contagious disease; it cannot be passed from one person to another. The skin lesions are generally described as red or erythematous plaques with thick white scale. With a classic presentation the diagnosis of psoriasis is seldom missed. However, certain individuals have non-classic presentations, and they may go undiagnosed for years before being seen by a dermatologist. Even to the trained dermatologist, a skin biopsy is sometimes needed to confirm the diagnosis. Once psoriasis is diagnosed, therapy may be as simple as a topical steroid cream once or twice a day. Other times a more advanced regimen may be required. Therapy is often customized to the individual. With a growing number of treatment options, the patient with moderate to severe psoriasis may choose to seek the care of a board-certified dermatologist.
What causes psoriasis?
Although the cause of psoriasis is still debated, psoriasis is likely a result of an abnormal immune response. Skin biopsies show a characteristic pattern of infiltration of white blood cells. This in turn causes abnormal skin growth. Specifically, the skin at sites of psoriasis grows too rapidly, resulting in a scaly appearance. The skin also changes in other ways. For example, blood vessels approach the surface of the skin resulting in easy bleeding when scales are picked off. Individuals with psoriasis often have a genetic predisposition for the disease, which is why it can run in families.
Types of Psoriasis
- Classical lesions occur on the scalp, elbow, knees, legs, arms, genitals, nails, palms, and soles.
- Inverse Psoriasis occurs in skin folds and has little scale if any. It looks very different.
- Guttate psoriasis affects children and young adults. It often clears up spontaneously over several months.
- Pustular psoriasis has, in addition to characteristic psoriatic lesions, pustules with thick purulent material often on the palmar surface of the hands.
- Psoriatic arthritis is found in 30 percent of individuals with psoriasis. It does not respond to topical therapy.
- Topical corticosteroids
- Vitamin D analogues such as calcipotriene. (Note that ordinary vitamin D does not work.)
- Retinoids are vitamin A analogues. Examples include creams such as tazarotene and oral medications such as isotretinoin, and acitretin.
- Coal Tar is a very old but still-used method.
- Goeckerman Treatment is offered at special centers. Again, it is a old treatment but still very effective. It uses coal tar dressings along with ultraviolet light.
- Light therapy uses natural sunlight or special UVB treatments.
- Methotrexate is a chemotherapy agent, which, when given in small doses, is very effective in treating psoriasis. It may also control the arthritis component of the disease seen in 30 percent of individuals.
- Cyclosporin is a strong anti-inflammatory agent that can be very effective in treating psoriasis.
- Apremlist is an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase 4 that works inside of cells to regulate inflammation.
- Biological agents are the newer therapy options. They are very expensive but also very effective methods of controlling psoriasis. Infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab, ustekinumab, secukinumab, ixekizumab and brodalumab are examples. Biologics act by neutralizing the factors secreted by the inflammatory white blood cells or by inhibiting the receptors on the inflammatory cells, which normally guide the cells to the skin.
Learn More About Psoriasis
Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow at Department of Dermatology at University of Colorado Denver
University of Colorado Clinical
Research Study for Scalp Psoriasis
Physicians at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are currently conducting a clinical research study for individuals with moderate to severe scalp psoriasis.
The study evaluates the effectiveness of systemic treatments for scalp psoriasis.
Eligible participants will be compensated for participation and may receive study medication, study-related medical care, and study procedures free of charge.
To qualify for this study, you must be:
1. Males and Females 18 years of age and older
2. Diagnosed with moderate to severe scalp psoriasis (for at least six months).
If you would like to learn more about being a participant in the research study, please call 720-848-3607, or visit www.psoriasiscolorado.com
COMIRB # 14-1577
PI: April W. Armstrong, MD, MPH
Legal: DrSocial and BrettMD are not affiliated with any of the more than twenty clinical studies listed on this website. BrettMD is sharing the studies as part of DrSocial's aims to educate and empower patients, to help fund medical research, and to help create a sustainable healthcare infrastructure. This is accomplished through both direct donation of money to organizatons such as the Colon Cancer Alliance, Baptist Health, and others, and by helping to raise awareness of many cutting-edge clinical trials performed by lead clinical investigators around the nation. For any trial-specific questions, please refer directly to the persons listed, and not to DrSocial. For illustration, the research institutes are as separate from DrSocial as Google is from the New York Times. Together, we can help find cures and better treatments for diseases such as psoriasis, colon cancer, and others. In order to accomplish these aims, people in every part of the nation have a right to know about what studies are being conducted, by whom, and they are encouraged to learn about both the risks and benefits of participating in such studies. If you have not yet, please consider registering at DrSocial for free as every person that signs up generates one dollar for medical research. One may not see DrSocial on a billboard near them, but they may find high-impact clinical research being conducted at an Academic Medical Center near them. What the founders of DrSocial have created is a means to help fund medical research whilst empowering patients with high-quality medical information from lead researchers around the nation. If you haven't yet, please sign up for free and help find a cure. Thank you kindly.
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The Clinical Research Unit at the University of Colorado is conducting clinical studies for persons with psoriasis. If you have moderate-to-severe scalp psoriasis, or moderate-to-severe psoriasis on your body, then please see the following link if you may be interested in more information.
If you are not sure about the severity of your psoriasis, consider your palm to be one unit. If you have more than 7 palms of your body with psoriasis, then you may be interested in seeing the link. Please checkout the link for information if you may be interested in finding a "dermatologist specialist in psoriasis."