Despite medical and herbal enhancements, psoriasis remains a difficult condition to manage. Recent study found that most people who have psoriasis tend to incline towards complementary or alternative therapies to treat their symptoms. A survey conducted by dermatologists from the George Washington University (GW) was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines psoriasis as a chronic autoinflammatory skin disease that speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells, which causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. Psoriasis is associated with other serious conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Treatment procedures vary from topical ointments to ultraviolet light therapy to medication.
A team led by Adam Friedman, MD, interim chair of the Department of Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, passed on a survey distributed through the National Psoriasis Foundation. The results showed that those suffering from psoriasis turn into alternate or complimentary medicine when traditional methods fail or present harsh side effects.
"Patients turn to these treatments because what was initially prescribed is not working out for them. But what we found through the survey is that patients may not completely understand what products will work best for them,” explains Friedman. "In addition to the chosen treatments, we also found that less than half of the respondents would recommend complementary or alternative therapies to others," Friedman said. "This could be a result of using therapies supported by limited evidence."
According to the survey, people used using complementary and alternative medicine that haven’t exhibited efficacy or been studied as treatment for psoriasis – of these, Vitamins D and B12 were frequently reported. However, neither of the vitamins have documented efficacy against the disease. On the other hand, indigo naturalis - a plant extract widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and recognized as a therapy for several inflammatory conditions - showed efficacy. But it was not reported in the survey. Dead Sea treatments were commonly reported and have shown therapeutic benefit.