The Pros and Cons of Biologics for Treating Psoriasis

By

Katherine Omueti Ayoade, MD, PhD

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Biological medications are at the forefront of medical research and progress for treating chronic illnesses, including psoriasis, an inflammatory disease that can cause severe buildup of red, scaly plaques on the skin. But while these drugs are proven to successfully treat psoriasis, careful research and discussion with your provider is needed to determine if a biologic is right for you.

Biologics, unlike most traditional drugs, are not made from chemicals. Rather, they are genetically engineered proteins derived from human genes. They’re designed to target and block the specific components of a patient’s immune system that cause inflammation. Experts believe this inflammation leads to the development and exacerbation of diseases like psoriasis. Biologics are usually given through injections or intravenous infusions.

The Benefits of Biologics

The biggest statement in favor of biologics is their proven success rate. In clinical trials, all approved biologics for psoriasis achieved a 75% or higher reduction in psoriasis plaques. And with certain biologics, most patients saw these results in just 12 weeks of treatment. As a provider, it’s incredibly gratifying to see my patients improve considerably while on biologics, and I’ve even seen patients have their psoriasis plaques completely clear using these drugs.

Biologic medications have shown great success in helping psoriasis patients clear their skin. However, sometimes it’s necessary to switch to a new biologic—and that’s okay.

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