Psoriasis

About

We see psoriasis patients in our general dermatology clinics at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals. Patients will be seen by a member of our dermatology team, made up of specialist physicians who diagnose and treat conditions of the skin.

Patients are usually referred to one of our dermatology clinics by their GP if their symptoms are particularly severe or did not respond well to previous treatments.

Conditions and treatments

Treatments for psoriasis generally fall into these three categories

Topical

  • creams and ointments that are applied to your skin 

Phototherapy

If topical treatments have had little effect, your dermatologist may refer you for phototherapy treatment at St Mary’s Hospital in our nurse-led phototherapy and day care treatment unit. During a phototherapy treatment, your skin will be exposed to certain types of ultraviolet light.

  • During phototherapy two types of ultraviolet light may be given called UVA and UVB, which are different parts of normal sunlight that can help to improve your symptoms. This treatment is given using specialist phototherapy machines that administer ultraviolet light through fluorescent tubes
  • Treatment with UVA is helped by taking a medication known as a psoralen – a combination known as PUVA therapy
  • Treatment with UVB does not need tablets. Most people will attend the clinic two to three times a week and a complete course of treatment will normally involve 15 to 30 visits. The amount of time you spend in the machine will gradually be increased – starting with just a few seconds, rising up to a few minutes depending on how your body responds
  • Our phototherapy nurses will review the effectiveness of the treatment each time you visit

Injected biological treatments

  • We can also provide several injectable forms of treatment for psoriasis. This can be very effective for patients with severe psoriasis, or if other treatments have not worked. We offer this service at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals
  • Injectable biological medications target more specific components of the immune system and are given as an injection into your skin, or through a drip into a vein in your arm. Biologic treatments reduce inflammation by targeting overactive cells in the immune system
  • You will need to have various tests before you can try these medicines and you will be monitored with blood tests while you are receiving this treatment. Patients are taught how to correctly administer these medications by a nurse, and can then independently self-inject at home

Further online resources