When you start a new psoriasis treatment, it can be tough to know what to expect. And you may have questions, such as:
- “How long before it starts to work?”
- “How much improvement can I hope to see?”
- “At what point should I try something different?”
To help answer these questions, NPF has issued a clear set of treatment targets for everyone with psoriasis and their health care providers. These targets were published in November 2016 by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. If you’ve ever wondered how to talk to your health care provider about your treatment goals, these targets are the perfect conversation starter.
The idea behind the treatment targets is to get your psoriasis down to 1 percent of your body surface area (BSA) or less by the time you’ve been on a treatment for three months. The entire hand (the palm, fingers and thumb) is equal to about 1 percent of your body surface area. Once you’ve reached that 1 percent goal, you should check in with your health care provider every six months to make sure you’re still experiencing the same amount of improvement.
If you don’t meet the target after three months of treatment, a discussion with your health care provider is the key next step. (In addition to the treatment target, the recommendations also offer what can be considered an “acceptable response” after three months: either your psoriasis only covers 3 percent or less of your body, or you’ve experienced 75 percent improvement.)
If after three months you’re experiencing some improvement, one option is to wait and see. If you’re meeting the acceptable response, you may want to stay on your treatment for another three months to see if you can hit the treatment target.
If you don’t meet the target after six months — or if you’re not seeing an acceptable response after three months — talk to your health care provider about other options. Changing the dose, adding a new treatment to the one you’re already on or switching to a different treatment are all possibilities. There are more therapies available for psoriasis than ever before. It may take time to find the one that works for you, so keep working with your health care provider until you meet your treatment goal.
Remember, getting clear skin is a goal worth working toward! Improving your psoriasis can improve your overall health. Research tells us that psoriasis is associated with other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and that reducing your psoriasis can reduce your risk for these conditions. Let these targets guide you on your path to clear skin.