Medical progress has made the lives of folks with autoimmune conditions such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) better than ever before. These conditions have been extremely difficult to treat successfully in the past. Now thanks to advancements in medicine using biological agents more people are living free of psoriasis and PsA flare ups.
Psoriasis is most commonly known for the raised, white or greyish patches that appear on the skin. These patches can progress to thick, scale-like plaques which may harden and become cracked. The severity of psoriasis is measured both by how much psoriasis a person has on their body and how much it affects their quality of life. For example, psoriasis can have a serious impact on one’s daily activities even if it involves a small area, such as the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis affecting the joints and is often accompanied by skin psoriasis. Early diagnosis and treatment of PsA can help prevent or limit extensive joint damage that occurs in later stages of the disease. Symptoms are similar to the discomfort associated with osteoarthritis (OA). One way to tell the two conditions apart is determining whether the arthritis is symmetrical or not. PsA usually affects major joints of the body symmetrically, while OA commonly affects one particular joint such as the left knee or right hip. An accurate diagnosis may require x-rays and blood tests. Once diagnosed an effective treatment plan may begin.
In the past, doctors could only treat psoriasis topically and with limited success. In the 1950’s researchers discovered methotrexate, an immune suppressant, and in the 1970’s it was approved for use in patients not responding to topical treatments. This medication and others like it are still used today, however there can be many possible side effects when suppressing the immune system. Through many years of research and clinical trials, researchers have now discovered biologics. Biologics are genetically-engineered human or animal based proteins designed to target the specific inflammatory pathways caused by psoriasis and PsA. Because of the large molecule size and complexity of biologics, they must be injected in order to be absorbed. Fortunately, injections are only needed once a month or every several months to be effective in most cases. There are several biologics currently FDA approved, however because of the recent discovery and high production costs, biologics can be extremely expensive through insurance.
At Encore Research Group, we are currently investigating many new and exciting biologic drugs for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. We are actively looking for qualified participants in North East Florida. Research provides participants with many great benefits. Some advantages of participating in a study include cutting-edge therapies, study-related medication at no cost and a stipend for time and travel. If you are interested in learning more about research, or our current studies please visit our website for more information. Without participants today, there won’t be new medications tomorrow!