Having skin rashes all over your body can be exasperating, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. And, for many people in the United States who live with plaque psoriasis, they can also be painful and sometimes even bleed. While most individuals with a skin rash can track it down to being exposed to a specific plant, food, or allergen, those with plaque psoriasis have to live with the knowledge that their own immune system is helping to cause the flare-ups. But, what, exactly, does it mean to have plaque psoriasis? What differentiates it from other types of psoriasis? And, what are the best forms of treatment options?
What is plaque psoriasis?
Plaque psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes a person to develop severe skin rashes. In addition to redness, the patches are scaly and itchy. These scaly areas are known as plaque. They usually appear on the elbows, torso, knees, and scalp. What differentiates plaque psoriasis from other types of psoriasis is it can affect so many different parts of the body — as opposed to just the joints, nails, or skin folds, as is the case with arthritic, nail, and inverse psoriasis. In addition to the scaly red patches, people with psoriasis often experience bleeding from the skin and skin soreness.
Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your immune system attacks existing healthy skin cells, causing new cells to multiply at a fast rate — which is why the patches thicken so fast. However, there are certain factors that may trigger a flare-up, including smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, having another autoimmune disorder or infection, stress, and certain medications.
How does infusion therapy work for plaque psoriasis?
Infusion therapy works by administering biologic medication intravenously. It is an ideal option for individuals for whom a medical condition makes it difficult or impossible to swallow oral pills. An added benefit is that since the infusion goes directly into the bloodstream, you don’t have to wait for your body to metabolize it. This translates to faster relief of symptoms. The medication is given through an IV that drips slowly into your arm. Most patients notice improvement of symptoms within the first two weeks of receiving infusion treatment.
What to Expect
When you visit one of our Infusion Associates locations, you will first meet with a medical professional who will walk you through the entire process. You’ll discuss the dosage amount, duration of each infusion treatment, and the likelihood of side effects. You can also take this time to ask questions and address concerns.
Once you’re ready for your infusion, you’ll be escorted to one of our treatment rooms — private rooms are available upon request. The infusion itself will be administered while you sit in a cozy armchair. Our staff will provide blankets, WiFi information, TV screens, and warm beverages. You can bring your favorite snacks or a book. In addition, a doctor or nurse will monitor your infusion throughout its duration to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Medications Used to Treat Plaque Psoriasis
There are different types of infusion/injection medications that can be used to treat psoriasis. They are a type of drug known as biologics and are prescribed to patients with severe cases of plaque psoriasis. These include:
- Simponi and Simponi Aria
- Other Interleukin inhibitors — including Cosentyx, Taltz, Siliq, Ilumya, Skyrizi, and Remfya
As with any medication, some patients experience side effects. Which ones are most likely to occur depends on the medication administered. Some of the most common ones include:
- Sore throat
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Urinary tract infections
- High blood pressure
- Stomach pain
In rare cases, certain severe side effects may occur. If you experience symptoms of any of the following, seek emergency medical care:
- Allergic reaction
- Heart failure
- Blood problems
- Nervous system problems
Infusion therapy medications also may increase your body’s susceptibility to infection. Talk to your doctor before treatment if you are taking any medications that increase your chances of infection.
Tell your doctor if you experience any negative side effects. You are also encouraged to report such side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch, or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
If Your Doctor Has Recommended Infusion Therapy for Psoriasis, Let Infusion Associates Help You
At Infusion Associates, we provide medically-prescribed infusion therapy for patients with chronic conditions in a welcoming and friendly environment. Our team of healthcare professionals is fully committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible for you or your patients. We always inform patients of any potential side effects and answer all their questions before starting treatment. In addition, we have a registered pharmacist on staff to make the process as seamless as possible.