Diagnoses & Conditions

Plaque Psoriasis

Understanding Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is classified as the most common form of psoriasis, an immune-mediated disease that causes a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

Symptoms of Plaque Psoriasis

Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include raised, red patches covered with a silver-white buildup of dead skin cells. The patches are most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back. They are typically found to be itchy and painful, and can crack and bleed.

Diagnosing Plaque Psoriasis

Dermatologists and most primary care professionals are able to diagnose classical psoriasis based on the appearance of the lesions and the tendency to form plaques. The location of the plaques on the elbows, knees and scalp are also a sign for diagnosis. Examination of the fingers and toes may show a resemblance to fungal infections. On occasion, an unusual looking lesion may need a biopsy for clinical evaluation. Blood tests are rarely helpful for diagnosis.

Treating Plaque Psoriasis

Treatment may include topical, oral, and injectable medications, and light therapy (phototherapy). Treatment is usually started with topical therapies including steroids, vitamin D analogues, retinoids, calcineurin inhibitors, salicylic acid, coal tar, and anthralin. Oral medications may include steroids, retinoids, and immune suppressive medications (e.g., methotrexate). Other medications include infliximab (e.g., Inflectra®, Remicade®) administered into the blood stream intravenously and ustekinumab (Stelara®) administered under the skin (subcutaneously).

This content is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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