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A chronic disease of the skin marked by red patches covered with white scales. NIH - National Cancer Institute

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin disease of scaling and inflammation that affects greater than 3 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 5 million adults. Although the disease occurs in all age groups, it primarily affects adults. It appears about equally in males and females.

Psoriasis occurs when skin cells quickly rise from their origin below the surface of the skin and pile up on the surface before they have a chance to mature. Usually this movement (also called turnover) takes about a month, but in psoriasis it may occur in only a few days... NIH - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Efficacy and safety of adalimumab for plaque psoriasis: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Sun Y, Wu Y, Chen LH, Liu YB, Gao XH.  Efficacy and safety of adalimumab for plaque psoriasis: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2010; 10(9): 1085-1095

Biologic and nonbiologic systemic agents and phototherapy for treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis

Bibliographic details: Lee S, Coleman CI, Limone B, Kaur R, White CM, Kluger J, Sobieraj DM.  Biologic and nonbiologic systemic agents and phototherapy for treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis. Rockville, MD, USA: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Comparative Effectiveness Review; 85. 201223285484

[Effectiveness of omega-3-fatty acids in psoriasis: a systematic review]

Bibliographic details: Maringer B, Zietemann V, Ratzinger G, Siebert U.  [Effectiveness of omega-3-fatty acids in psoriasis: a systematic review]. [Omega-3-fettsauren bei psoriasis: ein systematischer review zur untersuchung der effektivitat.] Aktuelle Ernahrungsmedizin 2009; 34(4): 195-200

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Summaries for consumers

Overview: Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a non-contagious inflammatory skin disease. The symptoms include clearly defined red patches, scaly skin and itching. This condition typically starts in adulthood, and comes and goes in cycles of flare-ups and symptom-free phases. This means that the skin can get better on its own, but it may also suddenly get worse. Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) condition and cannot currently be cured. It often has a real psychological and social impact on people’s lives.

Is balneophototherapy an effective treatment for psoriasis?

A combination of bathing and UV light therapy (balneophototherapy) is more effective at treating psoriasis than UV light therapy alone.

Antibiotics or tonsillectomy for people with psoriasis.

Psoriasis, a disease which produces scaly pink patches on the skin, often gets worse after a bacterial throat infection or tonsillitis. When someone with psoriasis has a throat infection, antibiotics are sometimes used in an attempt to prevent this from happening. For people with psoriasis and repeated throat infections tonsillectomy is sometimes recommended. The review found no evidence from trials that either antibiotics or tonsillectomy are helpful for people with psoriasis.

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More about Psoriasis

Photo of an adult

Also called: Psoriatic

Other terms to know:
PUVA Therapy, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), UVB Radiation

Keep up with systematic reviews on Psoriasis:


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