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How do medications treat erythrodermic psoriasis?

Two categories of medications are used to treat erythrodermic psoriasis. They are systemic medications, which work inside the body, and topical medications, which are applied to the skin.

Systemic medications: The three most often prescribed systemic medications for erythrodermic psoriasis are methotrexate, cyclosporine, and acitretin. Methotrexate, which is taken weekly by injection or by mouth, works by blocking some immune system function. Because psoriasis is caused by the immune system growing too many cells too often, shutting some of the system down can keep inflammation down. Cyclosporine also suppresses the immune system and is taken by mouth. Acitretin is different than the first two medications because it does not affect the immune system. Instead, this orally-taken drug regulates skin cell growth. All of these drugs are potent and require the supervision of your doctor.

Topical Medications: Anthralin, coal tar, corticosteroids, tazarotene, and calcipotriene all work by inhibiting skin cell growth, which is what causes psoriasis in the first place. Calcipotriene, anthralin, and corticosteroids can reduce skin inflammation. Corticosteroids are currently a subject of controversy for erythrodermic psoriasis treatment because they can trigger the condition if use is abruptly halted.

Frequently, these medications are prescribed in combination with each other or other therapies, such as light therapy.

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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.