How Do Biologic Treatments For Psoriasis Work?
Last updated: June 2023
If you’ve had psoriasis for some time, you may be thinking of adding a biologic to your treatment plan. These can be a great treatment option, and I’ve written several pieces about my experience on them.
A biologic journey with psoriasis
In my own treatment journey, Stelara has so far been the weakest of the three. I only achieved limited clearance. Moving on to Cosentyx, I found total clearance.
Unfortunately, this particular biologic stopped working after a couple of years, prompting me to try Skyrizi. As I’ve said, I’m seeing the benefits of this treatment but it will take some more time and injections to see the full benefit (or so I am told).
If you’re offered a biologic treatment, you may have lots of questions. Will they work? How long do they take to work? You may also want to know how they work.
So, how do they work?
Biologic treatments work by targeting the faulty immune system where it’s believed the condition starts. Humira blocks the protein known as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Stelara blocks the interleukin 12/23 route, Cosentyx blocks the interleukin 17A pathway, and Amevive blocks T-cells.
When these treatments attach to the pathways or cells, it’s believed they reduce the inflammation, swelling and pain that the psoriasis is associated with.1
Because the immune system is targeted, it does make it more likely that you will pick up an infection or illness, as a side effect of the drug. You should be closely monitored if you are on this type of treatment, and you need to make sure you report any side effects that are causing you trouble.
Psoriasis treatment is different for everyone
It’s important to remember that everyone's treatment journey is different. Yes, lots of people do have success with these treatments. There are lots of personal stories posted on social media sites with people crediting their biologic treatment as the reason for their total psoriasis clearance. Other people have had temporary clearance.
I'd like to drive the point that a known problem with a biologic treatment is that they can stop working. That means you may need to switch to a different biologic treatment or try a new treatment altogether.
It’s also worth remembering that not every psoriasis patient will need a biologic treatment. If your condition is not moderate or severe in nature, you may be able to get by on topical or oral treatments, or using phototherapy. You should ask your dermatologist or physician about these.
Moving in a positive direction
I have been on some form of biologic treatment for a number of years now. While they’re not perfect, they have helped my condition enormously. I always discuss the positives and negatives of each treatment I start with my dermatologist.
While I've had two biologics stop working on me, I always hold out hope that my next treatment will bring even longer relief. Keeping positive and keeping open with your health team is important so you can get the best out of your treatments. That’s what I do and it’s helped me.
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