Cyclosporine is a pill that was approved to treat severe psoriasis in 1997. It works to slow skin growth by blocking the activation of certain cells in the immune system. Cyclosporine is generally not used long term due to side effects, so dermatologists sometimes use it with other systemic medicines.
Acitretin is a man-made form of vitamin A. It was approved for use in the United States in the 1980s. Acitretin is used for severe psoriasis. Retinoids help to slow the growth of skin cells.
Methotrexate has been used to treat severe psoriasis since 1972. It is often prescribed to patients who are not getting results with topical treatments, retinoids, or phototherapy. It is commonly taken as a pill and works on the immune system to slow the quick growth of skin cells and reduce inflammation.
Apremilast is a pill that was approved in 2014 to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in patients for whom phototherapy or systemic therapy is appropriate. It is not known how Apremilast works in patients with plaque psoriasis. What is known is that it inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4).
Important information you should know
All medicines have potential side effects and should be used cautiously and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Because biologics suppress the immune system, they reduce your ability to fight infection. Biologics can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. Other serious side effects such as malignancies, severe allergic reactions, blood disorders and nervous system disorders have been reported. Medication Guides are available for these medications and can help you to better understand the potential benefits and risks of biologic treatments.
Some serious side effects of certain oral systemics include liver damage, birth defects, and decreased kidney function.
Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medications you may be taking.