Informed patient

You and your health care provider

Be aware of what your doctor has to consider before prescribing a treatment for you. Doctors plan a course of action and take into consideration the following information:

  • Your age and gender (some treatments would not be appropriate for some age groups, pregnant women or women who are breast feeding);
  • The location of your psoriasis;
  • Its impact on your quality of life;
  • Your medical history (some treatments are eliminated because of other medical problems or because you have used other treatments in the past);
  • How your individual case of psoriasis comes and goes (for example, it fluctuates with the weather or is triggered by your emotions);
  • The extent of the psoriasis present (some treatments are not warranted when psoriasis is minimal or very severe);
  • The presence or absence of psoriatic arthritis;
  • The kind of psoriasis you have;
  • Your response to treatments in the past;
  • What is realistic for you to fit in your daily routine (an hour to apply topical medications, or a three-times-a-week drive to phototherapy treatments?);
  • Your ability to pay for treatment (many treatments are expensive and are needed over a long period of time);
  • Your insurance coverage;
  • Your willingness to accept the risks of treatment.

The disease's effects on your quality of life must be taken into consideration. It is important to share your symptoms with your doctor, so he or she knows how your psoriasis affects your daily activities. Quality of life may be an important determining factor in choosing a treatment for you.

When psoriasis treatments appear to fail, disappointment is a common reaction—typical for psoriasis patients whose hopes for clearance can be frustrated by recurring flare-ups or ineffective treatment. The disappointment is understandable and often interpreted as the doctor's fault; however, a lack of knowledge can foster a patient's unrealistic expectations as to what can be done about psoriasis. As patients become better educated about psoriasis and its treatments, they will feel empowered to work with their doctor to find treatment options that work.