Overview of Your Treatment Options

Choosing a Treatment that’s Right for Me

Psoriasis doesn’t have to hold you back from the activities you love. Treatment can help you manage your psoriasis so that it doesn’t manage you.

The key is to find the right treatment for your symptoms and your lifestyle. The options include:

Topical treatments


  • Topical treatments are applied to the skin, usually as a cream or ointment. They target the problem area.
  • Topical treatments are often the first type of treatment given to people with psoriasis.
  • They include both over-the-counter (non-prescription) and prescription medicines.


Oral medications


  • These options, which are taken by mouth, deliver medicine throughout the body rather than to just one small area. They are also known as “systemic” medication.
  • Oral systemic medications include: cytotoxic drugs, immunosuppressants, and oral retinoids. They are available by prescription only.


Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy


  • Also called “targeted phototherapy,” UV therapy involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet (UV) light under medical supervision.
  • UV therapy is conducted in a clinic or hospital – it should NOT be substituted with the use of tanning beds.
  • It may be recommended if topical treatments aren’t effective on their own.
  • UV therapy must be done consistently to be effective; however, the lifetime exposure to UV light should be limited.


Biologic therapies


  • Biologic therapies are another type of “systemic” medication, but instead of delivering medicine throughout the body like oral options do, targeted therapies act on specific systems within the body (for example, the immune system).
  • Biologic therapies are administered by injection or by intravenous (IV) infusion and are most often used by people who don’t respond to other treatments, or those who have moderate to severe psoriasis.
  • Biologic therapies may be referred to as “biologics” by a doctor. They are available by prescription only.
Treatment recommendations for psoriasis


Topical treatments icon

Topical treatments
  • Are applied directly to the skin or scalp
  • Include lotions, ointments, moisturizers, and bath and shampoo products
  • Include prescription and non-prescription options


Systemic medications icon

Injection icon

Systemic medications (oral or biologic therapies)
  • Target the whole body or a specific body system (for example, the immune system)
  • Include oral medicines, which are taken by mouth, such as cytotoxic drugs, immunosuppressants, and oral retinoids
  • Include biologic therapies, which are administered by injection or intravenous (IV) infusion

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Talk to Your Doctor

If you are not satisfied with your current treatment, it is important to talk to your doctor about it. Together, you and your doctor can find a treatment that’s right for you. Just remember that it may take time.

Treatment can help you manage your psoriasis so that it doesn't manage you.