If your psoriasis is present on areas of the body other than (or in addition to) the scalp, your doctor might prescribe a prescription medication. There are a variety of treatments he or she might recommend. Sometimes, drugs such as cyclosporine, methoterexate, injectible corticosteroids, oral retinoids or oral vitamin D derivatives are used individually or in combination.
For severe cases of psoriasis, a class of drugs known as biologics might be prescribed. These medications, rather than directly targeting symptoms, work by blocking communication between the cells in your immune system. In doing so, they ultimately reduce inflammation. Biologics commonly prescribed for scalp psoriasis include alefacept, efalizumab, etanercept, infliximab and ustekinumab. Such medications are highly effective but also potentially dangerous. Because biologics affect the immune system, side effects can include an increased risk for developing serious infections or cancer.
On the next page, we'll take a look at treatments that don't require a prescription.