Plaque psoriasis is recognized as one of the most common types of psoriasis (an autoimmune disease which affects the skin and joints and manifests as red, scaly skin patches called psoriatic plaques). These patches are mostly seen on the skin of the elbows and knees, but they can also affect areas like the scalp and genitals.
Plaque psoriasis is a chronic condition with a severity that varies from localized patches to patches over the entire body. Not infrequently, even finger and toenails are not spared the brunt of this skin ailment, which may also cause psoriatic arthritis (inflammation of the joints).
As to what causes psoriasis still remains something of a medical mystery, but most researchers believe it to have a genetic factor. Psoriasis may be aggravated by factors like stress, excessive imbibing of alcohol, smoking etc.
Even though a number of treatments exist, healthcare professionals still find psoriasis a challenge to treat, owing to its recurrent nature. While topical medications can be used to treat mild to moderate versions of this disease, its severe manifestations (when it affects more than 10% of the body or prevents you from going about your daily activities) demand stronger measures by way of oral retinoids like generic soriatane.
What is soriatane and for whom is it prescribed? Soriatane is an oral medication used to address severe cases of plaque psoriasis, especially when all else has failed. Also known as Acitretin, Soriatane is a synthetic form (laboratory derivative) of Vitamin A (aka retinoic acid) and belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids.
While large doses of Vitamin A can reduce the thickness and scaliness of the skin, excessive doses of the same can be toxic and can cause liver damage. Soriatane works by regulating the reproduction of skin cells, their speed of growth and reducing inflammation. Soriatane also differs from other anti-psoriasis medications in that it does not damage cells or act as an immumo-suppressant. Incidentally, Soriatane is the only oral retinoid which has received the approval of the FDA for treatment of psoriasis.
During clinical trials and consequent studies, it has been seen that a large majority of patients put on soriatane showed marked improvement within an 8-week period.
Soriatane, however, is proscribed for pregnant women, as another retinoid called Accutane was earlier reported to have caused birth defects in some newborns – the risk of miscarriage too seemed to be higher with this drug. Hence, it is advisable for women with childbearing potential to undergo two negative pregnancy tests prior to being administered Soriatane. Also, they must adopt two effective birth control methods at least a month before commencing treatment with soriatane.
You should not take soriatane if:
You are suffering from severe liver or kidney disease You show intolerance to retinoids Your blood has high triglyceride levels
As for side effects, Soriatane's use may cause dry skin and lips. Other conditions, though less frequent, include abnormal bone growth, altered cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as and vision trouble.