Psoriasis is a skin disease that presents as red, itchy scaly patches on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp, among other places. Psoriasis is a chronic (long-term) condition that is common but has no cure. Its symptoms go through cycles, with flare-ups lasting a few weeks or months, then resolving or going into remission.
The skin can be affected by psoriasis in any area of the body. It’s possible to have more than one form of psoriasis at once, and people can experience different types over their lifetimes.
Talk with our pharmacist about facial psoriasis, genital psoriasis, psoriasis of the hands, feet, and nails, scalp psoriasis, and psoriasis in skin folds.
Psoriasis affects more than 3% of the US adult population. That is more than 7.5 million US adults.
Armstrong et al., JAMA Derm 2021
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and Psoriasis
In 1984 Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in the USA for the treatment of opioid addiction, used at the standard dose of 50mg to 100mg per day. It is a pure antagonist at various opioid receptors, Delta Kappa, Mu, and Opioid Growth Factor (OGF) receptors.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) binds to the endorphin receptors for about 1 – 1/2 hours, and the blockade lasts about 4 – 6 hours. The effects of LDN are analgesia and anti-inflammatory. One of the other effects is that it increases the production of your own endorphins.
Research into the effects of LDN began in the 1980s by Dr. Ian Zagon and Dr. Patricia McLachlan at Penn State. Dr. Bernard Bihari, in New York, was the pioneer of using LDN in clinical practice. In the mid-1980s he was using it to treat HIV in his patients. His patients were taking Naltrexone for their opioid addictions and as he weaned them off it he noticed positive side effects with other conditions and symptoms.
There is currently no universally effective treatment for psoriasis. Some patients are able to manage the disease with just one method of treatment, while others require a combination.
When traditional methods of treatment fail to offer relief, it’s a good time to talk with a healthcare professional (like your pharmacist or physician) about compounded medications. Our pharmacists recommend asking how compounded preparations of LDN (such as oral capsules, topical creams, and vaginal suppositories) can provide first-line support for psoriasis conditions including:
Chronic Plaque Psoriasis is the most frequent type of psoriasis is chronic plaque psoriasis which presents as small to large, well-defined, red scaly thickened areas on the skin. It mostly affects elbows, knees, and lower back regions of the body, although it can appear on any area of the body.
Erythrodermic Psoriasis is a rare, inflammatory, and aggressive form of psoriasis. A peeling rash that covers the entire body surface is one of the symptoms. The rash can be extremely itchy or burning, and it spreads quickly.
Guttate Psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that appears as red, scaly, small, teardrop-shaped spots on the skin. But generally does not leave a scar. It most often presents in childhood or young adulthood and is less frequent than plaque psoriasis.
Nail Psoriasis typically affects multiple fingers and toes, with fingernails being more commonly affected than toenails. The pain and tenderness caused by nail psoriasis can interfere with normal daily tasks.
Palmoplantar Psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that affects the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Pustular Psoriasis comes in several types, all rare, which affects the trunk and limbs but comes with yellow pus-filled spots. This can be localized or generalized, and it flares up quickly, necessitating hospitalization.
Source: Information for this blog is adapted from the LDN Research Trust
For patients who would like more information about compounded medication alternatives for psoriasis conditions, please complete the form below to connect with a pharmacist.
For healthcare providers who would like to view the evidence-based research behind our compounded preparations for psoriasis conditions, please use the form below to request a copy of our Clinician’s Guide for dermatology and literature regarding Low-dose Naltrexone Therapy for Psoriasis.
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