Prescription Medicines Verses Over the Counter Treatments

Do prescription medications treat chronic plaque psoriasis effectively as opposed to over the counter products?

This is a very common question when treating many human conditions. In many instances, prescription medication is the only possible solution. This may not always be the case in every circumstance, however.

One of the most popular plaque psoriasis treatments HUMIRA was approved a few years ago by the Food and Drug Administration. The claim is that “HUMIRA works inside the body to treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. It also states that in clinical trials, most adults taking HUMIRA were clear or almost clear, and many saw 75% and even 90% skin clearance in just 4 months. Your results may vary”.

Though this may appear to be an easy way to treat this problem, there are many issues that need to be considered before taking this medication and many others that offer similar benefits. For example, HUMIRA states the following possible adverse reactions and precautions when taking this product.

HUMIRA can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Serious infections. These include TB and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Symptoms related to TB include a cough, low-grade fever, weight loss, or loss of body fat and muscle.
  • Hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus. Symptoms include muscle aches, feeling very tired, dark urine, skin or eyes that look yellow, little or no appetite, vomiting, clay-colored bowel movements, fever, chills, stomach discomfort, and skin rash.
  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or mouth.
  • Nervous system problems. Signs and symptoms include numbness or tingling, problems with your vision, weakness in your arms or legs, and dizziness.
  • Blood problems (decreased blood cells that help fight infections or stop bleeding). Symptoms include a fever that does not go away, bruising or bleeding very easily, or looking very pale.
  • Heart failure (new or worsening). Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles or feet, and sudden weight gain.
  • Immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome. Symptoms include chest discomfort or pain that does not go away, shortness of breath, joint pain, or rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse in the sun.
  • Liver problems. Symptoms include feeling very tired, skin or eyes that look yellow, poor appetite or vomiting, and pain on the right side of your stomach (abdomen).
  • Injection site reactions (redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising).
  • Upper respiratory infections (sinus infections).
  • Psoriasis (new or worsening). Symptoms include red scaly patches or raised bumps that are filled with pus.
  • Warning: You should not take HUMIRA with ORENCIA® (abatacept), KINERET® (anakinra), REMICADE® (infliximab), ENBREL® (etanercept), CIMZIA® (certolizumab pegol), or SIMPONI® (golimumab). Tell your doctor if you have ever used RITUXAN® (rituximab), IMURAN® (azathioprine), or PURINETHOL® (mercaptopurine, 6-MP).
These are not all of the possible side effects with HUMIRA. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

As we are all aware, it is a requirement to report all and any types of reactions that have been experienced when testing any medication prior to approval and release into the market.

Over the counter topical creams and sprays are the other options for treatment. Invariably these products do not have FDA approval nor is it essential since these products are used externally and are applied to the outer layers of the skin. The regular precautions are related to reactions to the application of the product and possible skin reactions. In almost all cases this usually involves redness, burning sensations, and in rare cases swelling. Though many of these topical treatments do not always effectively treat the skin condition, many of them offer some relief.

The major differences between prescription medications and over the counter products usually, as is the case with most treatments, are the results verses the side effects. Needless to write, most prescription drugs have side effects, many of which are quite serious in nature, while the over the counter products offer less serious concerns.

The choice is always up to the consumer, but for many people it is better to exhaust the over the counter products prior to getting onto a regiment of daily medication.
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