Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects over 2% of the population and results in the drying, flaking, and cracking of skin, causing significant discomfort and affecting quality of life. Significant advancements have been made in the understanding and treatment of psoriasis, but a recent study indicates there may yet be opportunities for improvement. In a study performed by WakeForestMedicalCenter, it was indicated that many dermatologists are prescribing oral corticosteroids in addition to, or in lieu of, well documented treatments for the management of psoriasis.
The study, published in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, reviewed 21 million office visits over the last two decades. It was found that oral corticosteroids were prescribed 650,000 times for the treatment of psoriasis. However, to date there is still no conclusive research indicating that the oral administration of corticosteroids actually helps in the management of psoriasis symptoms. Interestingly, 93% of the prescribing physicians were dermatologists.
Oral corticosteroids include medications such as prednisone, dexamethasone, and methylprednisolone. These medications are commonly prescribed to treat systemic inflammation. Often, oral corticosteroids are used in the management of chronic illnesses, allergies, and inflammation.
Despite the lack of evidence to support the administration of oral corticosteroids for the management of psoriasis symptoms, there is still significant support backing the use of topical applications, such as fluocinonide
and hydrocortisone, which has documented benefits for the treatment of psoriasis. These topical treatments are applied to the surface of the skin help to reduce inflammation, itching, and thickening of the skin.