Hard to Treat Psoriasis
If you are suffering from severe psoriasis, chances are you already understand the difficulty of treating your symptoms. As a chronic autoimmune disorder, psoriasis is often resistant to treatment and shows frequent relapse. There is no single solution for everyone and a cure is not yet available, however, prompt and proper treatment from an experienced dermatologist can mean the difference between relief and prolonged suffering.
Dr. Francisco Kerdel of Florida Academic Dermatology Center in Coral Gables, Florida has dedicated his career to research and education to help his patients manage their symptoms and return to a better quality of life. Psoriasis is one of the most common skin conditions he sees within his practice and explains why it’s not a one-size-fits-all skin disease.
“Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that results in greater proliferation of skin cells,” says Dr. Kerdel. “This, in turn, results in thickened, scaly plaques and it can affect the skin, scalp and nails. The disease has multiple presentations and this is partly why it can be difficult to treat.”
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, more than eight million people in the U.S. alone are living with psoriasis. Common symptoms include:
- Painful lesions
- White or silver scales
- Discoloration of fingernails
Although many people typically think of psoriasis as a skin condition, it can also affect your scalp, the soles of your feet, and nails. Surprising to some, psoriasis of the nail can be one of the hardest areas to combat. “The nail is particularly difficult to treat because topical agents and phototherapy are not able to penetrate and reach the desired target,” Dr. Kerdel explains.
Treatment of psoriasis will vary significantly for each patient. Location of the plaques, severity, and triggers will all be taken into account by your dermatologist to determine what treatment plan is best for you. Although there are many common treatment options, Dr. Kerdel and his staff are constantly exploring new options by utilizing biologics, laser technology, and participating in clinical trials.
Unlike traditional systemic drugs that impact the entire immune system, biologics target only specific parts of the immune system. The biologics used to treat psoriatic disease block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T-cell. Or they block proteins in the immune system, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 17-A, or interleukins 12 and 23. These cells and proteins all play a major role in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).¹
For mild to moderate plaques, Dr. Kerdel also uses the FDA-approved XTRAC laser. This laser concentrates a single band of ultraviolet B (UVB) light on psoriasis lesions to penetrate the skin and break down the DNA of the T cells. XTRAC can be performed right in our Coral Gables office and requires no downtime. Because it’s a concentrated light source, this particular laser can focus specifically on the plaque area and won’t affect the surrounding skin. Side effects are usually minimal and can include redness, itchiness, and a burning sensation.
To continue to give our patients as many treatment options as possible, Florida Academic Dermatology Center regularly participates in various clinical trials. Please feel free to reach out to our office for current trials and to see if you may be eligible.
As with any physician, it’s important to find a specialist who is knowledgeable in your condition. Dr. Kerdel is a board-certified dermatologist with special qualifications in dermatological immunology/diagnostic and laboratory immunology. He has been included in countless scientific publications, books, and scholarly articles and devotes his career to continuing research. “Every patient is different and we recognize that there is not a universally effective therapeutic approach,” he says. “We, therefore, treat patients individually.”
If you are suffering from psoriasis, don’t delay your treatment. Dr. Kerdel and the specialists of Florida Academic Dermatology Center devote their careers to research and finding treatment options for all of their patients. Give us a call today at (305) 324-2110 to book your appointment. We look forward to caring for you!