Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are closely related immune conditions that affect the skin and joints. Different treatment options are available, and some treatments may help both conditions.
There is no treatment that can fully cure either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA). However, several medications, creams, and therapies can soothe discomfort, manage symptoms, and help prevent the conditions from worsening.
Read on to learn more about the treatments for psoriasis and PsA. This article discusses medications and home remedies.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) target the body’s inflammation processes, which help reduce or prevent the constant inflammation that causes symptoms of both psoriasis and PsA.
Examples of DMARDs for PsA include:
- apremilast (Otezla)
- upadacitinib (Rinvoq)
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
DMARDs may also reduce the skin plaques and nail problems that can occur due to psoriasis. A doctor may recommend topical DMARDs for psoriasis.
People sometimes take biologics by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion. Biologics work by blocking particular cells, called T-cells, or proteins in the immune system that contribute to psoriasis and PsA. These proteins include:
- tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)
- interleukin-17 (IL-17)
- interleukin-12/23 (IL-12/23)
Examples of biologics include:
- etanercept (Enbrel)
- adalimumab (Humira)
- infliximab (Remicade)
- golimumab (Simponi, Simponi Aria)
- certolizumab pegol (Cimzia)
- secukinumab (Cosentyx)
- guselkumab (Tremfya)
- risankizumab (Skyrizi)
- ustekinumab (Stelara)
- ixekizumab (Taltz)
Some of these can treat skin symptoms, while others are better for joint pain and stiffness. A doctor will prescribe based on how severe a person’s symptoms are and which type of psoriasis has developed.
One Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor, tofacitinib, has FDA approval for the treatment of PsA. It targets JAK, a
Clinical trials have shown that tofacitinib might also have helpful effects in treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. However, the FDA has not approved the drug for this purpose.
Different applications of steroid medications can help reduce symptoms of psoriasis and PsA and help manage inflammation.
People with psoriasis can apply topical steroids to the skin to reduce swelling and skin discolorations. It is important not to use topical steroids for longer than 3 weeks without consulting a doctor, as side effects can be severe.
It is also important to keep topical steroids away from the eyes unless they have a specific formulation that reduces the risk of adverse eye effects.
Corticosteroids can help people manage the inflamed joints of PsA. A doctor can inject steroids directly into the affected joints to relieve pain and bring down inflammation. However, steroids are not a long-term treatment, and people with PsA should only use them during flares to relieve symptoms.
Managing daily life with psoriasis and PsA is about preventing flares, relieving uncomfortable symptoms, and improving a person’s mood and quality of life. Various home remedies can help with this.
Massage therapists use several techniques to relax joints and muscles by applying gentle, but firm, pressure. This may help relieve stress as a trigger in people with psoriasis and reduce joint stiffness in those with PsA.
Yoga is a relaxation technique based on an ancient practice of breathing, posing, and light stretching.
Yoga may help people with PsA remain flexible while reducing the impact of flare-triggering stress. Tai chi, another ancient practice involving gentle motions and deep breathing, may be similarly helpful.
Other physical activity
Other physical activities or exercise may help people reduce pain, stiffness, and physical restriction due to PsA.
However, people with PsA may wish to avoid exercise that involves long periods of walking or standing.
Several treatments may help reduce symptoms and flares in people living with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). These include systemic medications, such as biologics, JAK inhibitors, and DMARDs. Different forms of steroids can also support each psoriatic condition in different ways.
Home remedies and lifestyle habits can support treatment for those with both conditions. These include massages, yoga, and other exercises.
Psoriasis and PsA can present differently in different people. A doctor will create an individual treatment plan based on a person’s severity of symptoms, triggers, and type of psoriasis present.