Biologic therapy is a newer, highly effective treatment option for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Many people with severe psoriatic disease—who have not found success with other treatments—have found relief from their psoriasis symptoms thanks to biologics.
Biologics can also yield results pretty quickly. “Biologics typically take about eight to 12 weeks to work for psoriasis, [but] most of my patients get better even faster, within a month,” says Bobby Buka, MD, dermatologist and section chief at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
“Patients that are using biologics will notice an immediate thinning of the plaques on their skin,” says Dr. Buka. “It’s really a remarkable class of drug.”
Those fast results can be a major relief if you’re someone who’s been struggling for a long time with moderate to severe psoriasis symptoms. To keep those results, there’s a careful timeline for biologic therapy to treat psoriasis long-term.
“What we found is that we can space out the interval injections further and further [apart],” says Dr. Buka. Instead of monthly injections, you may just need biologics once every six months. “But if we were to stop them altogether, yes, psoriasis would return.”
Usually, you can stick to the same biologic treatment, a couple times a year, and enjoy relief from your symptoms for years or even decades. However, there are some instances in which you might need to switch to a different biologic.
Sometimes, the body can make antibodies against your specific biologic, according to Dr. Buka. This makes the biologic treatment ineffective, and psoriasis symptoms may return. Luckily, different biologics have different targets, so a new biologic is often effective and bringing effective treatment back.
Ignoring or putting up with your psoriasis symptoms might not be life-threatening, but it can lead to more dangerous complications of psoriasis. If moderate to severe psoriasis is affecting your quality of life, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor about other treatment options for you, including biologics.