For many years psoriasis was seen as a disease of just the skin, research has made it clear that psoriasis is, in fact, an autoimmune disease that impacts many systems of the body, with the primary presentation impacting the skin. One of the frustrating aspects of an autoimmune condition like psoriasis is the frustrating flare-up remission cycle. Flare-ups are thought to be periods of time when symptoms are worse. Remissions are thought to be periods of time when the symptoms get better or even go away completely for a period of time. While there is no cure for psoriasis, sometimes people with psoriasis can pinpoint what makes their psoriasis flare-up (and avoid those triggers) or have identified ways to manage their symptoms or treat their psoriasis and achieve remission.
Experiences with remission
In our Psoriasis In America survey, we asked respondents about remission. Here’s a look at what they had to say about their experiences with remission. When asked to chose a statement that best applied to the participant’s psoriasis journey, 62% of survey respondents shared that they have never gone into remission, 31% have gone into remission at some point, but their psoriasis has come back and is active again. Only 6% of survey participants were currently in remission.
How remission was achieved
When survey participants were asked how they were able to achieve remission, there were varying answers. Participants were able to choose multiple options if they were using a combination of treatments that helped them achive remission.
- 36% achieved remission by taking a biologic medication
- 30% achieved remission by using a prescription topical medication
- 26% shared that their psoriasis went into remission on its own
- 11% achieved remission by using over-the-counter topical medications
- 11% achieved remission through diet modifications
- 9% achieved remission through homeopathic/natural treatments
- 6% achieved remission through a small-cell molecule medication
27% of participants achieved remission through some other mode, other modes participants identified were as follows: light therapy/phototherapy, exercise, methotrexate, chemotherapy, pregnancy, sunlight/tanning, or laser treatments.
Length of remission
Survey participants were asked, “what is the longest amount of time you’ve been in remission?” Here is a look at the longest amount of time surey participants were in remission for.
- Less than 1 month (8%)
- 1 month up to 6 months (33%)
- 6 months up to 1 year (22%)
- 1 year up to 3 years (19%)
- 3 years up to 5 years (8%)
- More than 5 years (10%)
Remission- what would it mean to you?
The goal of many treatment options is to better regulate the body’s immune responses so that people with psoriasis can have longer periods of remission (often described as “clearance”) from their skin symptoms and to reduce the levels of chronic inflammation that may otherwise occur. When we asked survey participants what remission meant to them, many were “unsure” since they said they had never experienced a period of time without skin symptoms…Others shared their expectations about remission…
- “For my skin to be clear enough to wear whatever I want and not cover up in the summer”
- “I haven’t thought of that in a very long time. I am overwhelmed by the thought of it.”
- “Freedom from stress, no itching, no embarrassment, no pain.”
- “Not having to have medication with me. Not having to take so many things into consideration when buying and wearing clothes for work.”
- “Being comfortable enough to wear dark clothing without being embarrassed and no longer in pain.”
- “Having a life. Not worrying about my skin flaking everywhere.”
Some survey participants chose one or two words to explain what psoriasis remission means to them. Responses included:
- Clear skin