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How do medications treat psoriasis?

Medications treat psoriasis by blocking the inflammation present in the skin or blocking the body from creating an autoimmune reaction. Anti-inflammatory treatments include topical steroids and vitamin D therapy. Systemic medications block the autoimmune response. These include methotrexate, cyclosporine and biologic agents. 

Medications used to treat psoriasis fall into two major categories: topical drugs and oral medications. There are several in each category.

Topical Drugs

  • Corticosteroid cream-reduces inflammation by slowing cell production.
  • Anthralin-helps regulate DNA in your skin cells and removes plaques
  • Salicylic acid-helps remove dead skin cells
  • Vitamin D-slows skin cell growth

Oral medications

  • Cyclosporine-helps regulate your immune system by slowing cell production, reducing inflammation
  • Immunomodulator-helps regulate your immune system by slowing cell production, reducing inflammation
  • Methotrexate-reduces skin cell production
  • Retinoid-reduces skin cell production

Some oral medications can be injected into the skin as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.