Think "safety first" when choosing a psoriasis treatment
Recently, I cued up a video to watch online and was given the choice of watching one long commercial at the beginning, or watching several short commercials interspersed throughout.
I bit the bullet, went with the long commercial, and was treated to a heartwarming scene of happy friends sitting on the dock of a lake house.
But right away there was trouble.
The narrator was a middle-aged woman, forced indoors, away from her friends, due to "embarrassing, flaky, painful, red patches" caused by plaque psoriasis.
Then the tone turned upbeat again after she began using Humira, an injectable drug that treats psoriasis lesions. Now she was outside, laughing with her husband and friends. And the only thing that spoiled this happy scene was a sudden switch to a new narrator who explained...
"Humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. Serious sometimes fatal events can occur, such as infections, lymphoma, and other types of cancer, blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure."
Our happy psoriasis patient clearly wasn't hearing all that, because throughout this disclaimer she kept smiling, apparently unaware she was casting the shadow of potential infections, heart failure and cancer over every one of her days.
What's stupefying is that the FDA allows billions of dollars worth of Humira and other drugs in this class of TNF-alpha blockers (Enbrel, Remicade) to be sold every year while safe alternative methods are available.
Keep it simple
Suppressing your immune system and putting yourself at risk of side effects that read like a list of medieval punishments should be your last ditch choice in attempting to control psoriasis.
Better to start off by keeping it simple.
A few years ago I received a note from an HSI member named Angus who said he tried psoriasis medications with no success. So when his psoriasis began spreading (on both his scalp and legs) he began to feel desperate.
Angus: "Something in the back of my mind (I read all your emails and monthly newsletters) said to me that when the liver can't clean the blood properly the results can show up on the skin.
"So I got out a bottle of liquid milk thistle and started taking two tablespoons a day. One in the morning and one in the late evening.
"The result is -- drum roll please -- the psoriasis on my legs has cleared up and gone away, and my scalp is almost completely cleared up (this has been confirmed by my barber). I expect within a couple of months I will be psoriasis free for the first time in about 15 years.
"Hope this info can help others."
I'm sure that info WILL help others. After all, milk thistle supports liver health, and poor liver function is one of the triggers that sets off psoriasis.
But if milk thistle doesn't bring relief, there are other ways that probably will.
As I've mentioned before, some psoriasis patients reduce symptoms with moderate daily sun exposure, which increases vitamin D levels. Essential fatty acids in fish oil and flax seed are also beneficial for many patients.
And several years ago I told you about an extract of mahonia aquifolium (also known as the Oregon grape) which has been proven to be effective in treating psoriasis.
There are a number of products based on mahonia aquifolium, marketed under the brand name of M-Folia. These products include ointment and cream preparations, shampoo, sunscreen, and bath oil, which can provide relief from eczema as well as psoriasis.
In a rational world, every Humira advertisement would begin with a disclaimer, noting that psoriasis patients really should try M-Folia, fish oil, flax seed, or milk thistle before they put their lives at risk with a potentially dangerous drug.
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About the author
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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