Systemic treatments


Systemic treatments work on the entire body (system). They target your immune system and ultimately slow the growth of skin cells. Systemic treatments can be taken by mouth or injected into the body. These treatments are typically prescribed when patients have moderate-to-severe psoriasis, or when topical treatments and light therapy have failed. There are a range of systemic treatments available, some of which can be prescribed by your GP and some that will require referral to a dermatologist. Treatments include acitretin, cyclosporin and methotrexate.

Some of these treatments will work faster than others. You may expect to see a difference anywhere between 3 weeks to 4 months. It is important to tell your dermatologist if you are using any other medicines or dietary supplements prior to initiating systemic treatments as these may interfere with how the prescribed treatment works.

Side effects

Systemic treatments are associated with a larger number of side effects than topical treatments. For this reason, your GP or dermatologist will most likely try topical treatments and light therapy before prescribing a systemic treatment. The side effects will vary depending on which treatment you have been prescribed. It is important to see your GP or dermatologist if you experience any side effects. Speak to your doctor or read the Consumer Medicine Information leaflet that comes with your prescription for further information on side effects specific to your treatment.

NZ-HUMD-2014-3(1)m TAPS PP8490