Information about the use of immunomodifiers in the treatment of psoriasis.

As psoriasis is an immune-system disease, it’s not surprising that some treatments specifically target the immune system in some way. There are immunosuppressants, immune-system boosters, and immune-system “regulators” (which somehow boost weak systems, and at the same time suppress the overly-strong ones).

Currently, psoriasis is thought to be caused by an immune system “mistake.” Simply, the immune cells “think” there is an infection or a wound to heal in the skin, but no such thing exists. The immune response to this non-existant threat causes the inflammation and rapid skin growth.

It’s a common misconception that our immune systems are “overactive.” They are, to a degree, but the increased activity tends to be localized in the plaques themselves. As far as I can tell, there’s no evidence that our entire immune systems are in overdrive all the time. However, immunosuppressants function by “calming” the immune system down. UVB, for example, suppresses the immune system in the skin. A systemic drug like Cyclosporine (see below) suppresses the entire immune system.

There is little reason to think that psoriasis is a symptom of a weakened immune system, as some people (who want to sell you immune-system “boosters”) claim. In fact, if the boosters work, they could very well make psoriasis worse, as it seems obvious that if our already-busy immune cells were enhanced, they could wreak even more havok on our skins. As the immune system is a complex thing, the possibility exists that boosting one part of it may, through a feedback loop or other such mechanism, suppress a different part. This is iffy stuff, though. Generic immune-systems boosters probably aren’t specific enough to affect the system in this way.

Reviewed Treatments and Information

Unreviewed Treatments and Information