If a mild or medium-strength steroid preparation is applied to the skin, there usually isn't too much concern about side effects. They may cause some irritation or acne or a burning sensation, but the symptoms of the psoriasis itself will likely be much worse. There is also the possibility of thinning of the skin or loss of skin colour, so let the doctor know if you see any changes to the skin.
If a medication is also taken by mouth, it will most likely be acitretin, methotrexate, or cyclosporine. Your overall physical health will affect whether you can take them; if you have problems with your liver or kidneys, for example, you may not be able to take these medications, or you may need more frequent check-ups while you are on them. Make sure that the doctors who are treating you know about all other physical conditions that you have.
If you're a woman, it is also important to let the doctor know if you're pregnant, if you may be pregnant or if you're planning to become pregnant in the next 3 years. Both acitretin and methotrexate can cause birth defects. Methotrexate can also cause birth defects if the father of the child has been taking it at or up to 3 months before the time of conception. Women should wait at least 3 years after taking acitretin before getting pregnant, and 6 months after the last dose of methotrexate. Men taking methotrexate should wait 3 months after their last dose of medication before fathering a child.
All three medications have the possibility of making you feel a bit worse at first – for example, increased itching or soreness. These effects will often go away after a little while. If you experience symptoms such as extreme dizziness, intense stomach pain, difficulty breathing, blood in your urine or other similar changes to your health, make sure to let your doctor know right away. For more information on these medications, see our medication database.
If you are given phototherapy, it will involve two or three treatments per week until the psoriasis clears. This is sometimes called photochemotherapy, which involves using phototherapy with a medication called psoralens that increases your skin’s sensitivity to light. The aim of the therapy is to produce inflammation and redness in the skin, which might sound undesirable, but it slows down the production of new skin cells, which is the problem. Before receiving phototherapy, let your doctor know of any conditions you may have that increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Also let the doctor know about all medications you are taking, as some medications can increase sensitivity. As well, if you are a woman and are or may be pregnant, you should not take psoralens.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Psoriasis-When-Its-an-Emergency