Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, researchers around the world are seeking better treatments with fewer side effects and control that is more lasting. Until then, many people with psoriasis can manage the symptoms of their disease with one or a combination of many medically recognized treatments and countless home remedies.
Although psoriasis in children is similar to that in adults, there are some real differences, especially regarding treatments. Many treatments used for adults may not be appropriate for children dues to possible long term or delayed side effects. Physicians decide which treatments to use according tot the type and severity of the psoriasis, the areas of the skin affected and the patient’s age and past medical history.
Infants: Treatment is very conservative. Moisturizers can be a good first step. Oatmeal baths and anti-itch creams can help relieve the itching. Consult a physician before starting any treatment with an infant.
Children: For mild psoriasis, sunlight may be helpful. For moderate cases, regular broad-band or narrow-band ultraviolet light B (UVB) therapy can help clear the lesions. Strep infection can trigger an outbreak, so antibiotics may help clear the bacteria that could have triggered the psoriasis.
Teens: Ultraviolet light B (UVB) therapy can help clear the psoriasis. Oral medications may have different side effects for teens, and potent topical steroids need to be applied with caution because they can be absorbed too quickly.
Topical treatments: Creams and ointments are used directly on psoriasis plaques. Most people with psoriasis begin medical treatment with topicals because they pose the least risk of long-term side effects. Learn more about topical treatments for psoriasis.
Light therapy: Ultraviolet light A or B (UVA, UVB) work by exposing the skin to light waves. Learn more about light therapy for psoriasis.
Systemic medications: Doctors do not usually prescribe systemic medications for children and teenagers. However, they might if a young person has a severe case of psoriasis. Methotrexate, acitretin, cyclosporine and some biologics are drugs that may be prescribed. Sometimes topical medications are used with these potent drugs to help speed clearing and make the person more comfortable. Learn more about systemic treatments for psoriasis. ↑ Top
Once you, your child and a physician settle on a treatment plan, follow through with it. Half of all patients do not adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by their doctors. This makes it seem like the treatment isn’t working, when the reality is that the individual didn’t use it the correct way or give it enough time to be effective.
Your child's rheumatologist, weighing your opinion or preference, will prescribe the most appropriate course of treatment based on your child's overall health, medical history, the extent of the condition, and the expected course of the disease.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs): NSAIDs include over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naprosyn, as well as prescription-strength products. NSAIDs help control swelling, pain and morning stiffness and help improve range of motion in joints. They can help reduce the limitations to daily activities often caused by arthritis.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): DMARDs may relieve more severe symptoms and attempt to slow or stop joint/tissue damage and the progression of psoriatic arthritis and include drugs such as methotrexate and cyclosporine.
Biologics: Biologics are highly selective agents that target specific parts of the immune system; some of these parts are involved in the development of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Enbrel (etanercept) and Humira (adalimumab) are indicated for moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), of which psoriatic arthritis is a sub-type.
Other treatments for juvenile psoriatic arthritis may include physical therapy to improve and maintain muscle and joint function and regular eye exams to catch eye inflammation, which can occur in some children.
Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation website at www.psoriasis.org »
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