Such intensive psoriasis therapies have generally fallen to the wayside in favor of the more convenient treatments we have at our disposal today. Nevertheless, anthralin is still a useful drug, especially in its newest iteration, Psoriatec cream.
Psoriatec: Anthralin ReincarnatedPsoriatec is a new (and at present, only) version of anthralin. It is a timed-release cream, meaning the active ingredient is very slowly released into the skin. This helps minimizes the irritation that was sometimes seen with generic anthralin in the past. The instructions for use have also been designed to reduce side effects, such as irritation and skin staining (also drawbacks to traditional anthralin treatment).
Convenient Use of PsoriatecUnlike previous versions of anthralin, Psoriatec can be relatively convenient to use by following instructions for what's known as short contact anthralin therapy (SCAT).
Here's how it works:
It is usually recommended that patients apply the cream to the affected areas about 30 minutes before taking a shower. Patients with guttate psoriasis covering most of their body can cover large areas, even normal skin, as the application time is too brief to cause irritation to surrounding healthy skin. Once time is up, a cool water shower is used to wash away the cream. This rinse removes the cream without activating the time-released drug, another measure designed to reduce inflammation and irritation. A normal warm water shower with soap is then taken.
How Soon Can You See Results?Anthralin (in any form) is not a drug for people in a hurry. It can take weeks or months to get good results. Still, using the drug does have its upsides:
- There are no steroids in anthralin.
- It will not thin the skin or cause stretch marks.
- It is not as costly as some of the newer kids on the block, such as Taclonex.
- It sometimes works great when nothing else seems to.
- You can apply Psoriatec to the scalp before shampooing to treat tough psoriasis scales and plaques.
As with any drug, you should discuss and weigh the risks and rewards of using a medication with your doctor before use.
Camisa C. Handbook of Psoriasis, 2nd Ed. Blackwell Publishing, USA 2004