The Real Reason Why Your Psoriasis Treatment Isn't Working
Last updated: May 2023
Most of all of us with psoriasis have struggled with finding a treatment that's right for our bodies. How many treatments have failed you in the last 5 years? Check out these 5 reasons why your psoriasis treatments may be failing you...
It's the wrong target
Most psoriasis treatments aim to do 1 of 2 things, slow down actual skin cell growth or suppresses an over-reactive area of your immune system to normal levels. There are roughly 5 areas of the immune system biologics and pills alter which are, TNF-alpha, interleukin-17A, interleukin-12, and interleukin-23; these are your immune systems defense mechanisms. In the case of psoriasis, these areas are over-reactive hence the inflammation associated with our disease. If your reason for psoriasis is due to a malfunction in the area of the interleukin-17A a medicine that is a TNF-alpha blocker will not work for you. Thus the reason your treatment may be failing you is because you are using something that's not targeting the area that needs suppressing. Research is being done that would possibly help target the specific areas in individuals, but right now it's done by trial and error of trying different drugs and seeing what one responds to.
It loses it's effectiveness
Nothing is more disappointing than to find a great treatment that works for you, and then years later it's no longer effective, unfortunately, this is a potential risk with most psoriasis treatments. Three years ago I started a drug which cleared my skin by 80%. Although my skin wasn't perfect I was happy with the results. In a little under 2 years, the drug stopped working and I had to switch treatments. Scientists are still unsure why this happens.
Short term relief
Some drugs only work when you are using them on a consistent and everyday base. For example, due to side effects, strong topical steroids can only be used for a short period of time before one has to discontinue use. Side effects include thinning of the skin and stretch marks. Treatment may be able to reconvene after a few days, weeks or months. Your doctor will give you directions on how to use.
You lack consistency/you aren't doing it enough
Some topical treatments require you use them anywhere between 1-3 times a day. For me it was hard to stop and rub down in ointment multiple times a day, thus my consistency lacked. Light-therapy can also be time-consuming and expensive on gas, thus could cause people to not go as often as they should during the week.
You don't use drugs as directed
I've mentioned the use of topical steroids which are typically used for a short period for psoriasis. If you use this drug more or longer than directed by your doctor you risk your body becoming used to the treatment and it no longer working for you. A unique challenge for African-Americans is treating scalp psoriasis. African-Americans typically don't have to wash their hair every single day and doing so can be damaging to the hair. A lot of scalp treatments require you wash your hair at least once a day which is excessive for people of color. If the shampoo isn't used as directed it may not work to clear the scalp.
Remember if you are using a treatment and don't see a significant change in 3-6 months, doctors suggest a different treatment.
Does your psoriasis management change with the seasons?