- Many Americans suffering from psoriasis, a chronic skin disorder, are turning to alternative therapy methods for relief, especially when traditional treatments do not work or have undesirable side effects.
- Complementary and alternative treatments often begin when conventional treatments are seen as ineffective. However, patients may not fully comprehend which alternative products will work best for them.
- The survey revealed that, interestingly enough, some patients use therapies that either have unproven effectiveness or have not been extensively studied for treating psoriasis, such as vitamins D and B12.
- Less than half of the respondents would recommend alternative therapies to others, possibly due to the use of therapies supported only by limited evidence.
- The survey results suggest that doctors should be knowledgeable about these alternative treatments in order to guide their patients towards evidence-based approaches that could better improve their condition.
A recent mini-study reveals that a significant number of American individuals suffering from the chronic skin disorder psoriasis utilise complementary or alternative techniques to ease their symptoms.
Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease identified by elevated, red, scaly skin patches, is associated with other major health issues like diabetes, heart diseases, and depression. The treatment methods vary from the application of topical creams to ultraviolet light therapy to prescribed medications.
The minuscule survey was conducted by the National Psoriasis Foundation, reaching out to approximately 100,000 members via a newsletter. Only 219 individuals responded, but the findings were significant.
Alternative Medicine becomes a Choice when Traditional Medicine Fails
The use of complementary or alternative treatment methods typically commences when conventional treatments are ineffective or result in unwanted side effects, as per Dr. Adam Friedman, the interim chairman of dermatology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
He pointed out, “Patients resort to these treatments because the originally recommended treatments are failing them. However, through the survey, we discovered that patients might not wholly comprehend which products will work best for them.”
Effectiveness of certain therapies questioned
Surprisingly, the survey revealed that some respondents resort to therapies with either unproven effectiveness or without having been studied for psoriasis treatment.
For instance, patients frequently reported using vitamins D and B12, even though there’s lack of evidence to support their efficacy against psoriasis.
Conversely, indigo naturalis – a plant extract extensively utilised in the realm of traditional Chinese medicine and recognised as a treatment for several inflammatory conditions – has shown to be effective. It was, however, not listed by any patient in the survey. Dead Sea treatments, on the other hand, were commonly reported and have proven benefits.
“While evaluating the selected treatments, we also noticed that less than 50% of the respondents would recommend alternative or complementary therapies to others,” said Friedman. “This could be due to the application of therapies supported only by limited evidence.”
He suggested that doctors should be well-informed about complementary and alternative treatments to guide their patients towards evidence-based approaches that could aid them.
The outcomes of this survey were recently featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
For more information
People can learn more about psoriasis from the National Psoriasis Foundation by clicking here.