New psoriasis pill provides hope for patients

November 4, 2011 5:04:51 PM PDT
Psoriasis is an embarrassing skin condition that causes people to hide the condition like wearing turtlenecks or long sleeves all summer long. There's no cure and the best treatment so far are medicines given in shots, but they're very expensive.

For half his life Thinh Tran has been afraid to show his skin because of the psoriasis that covered his body.

"It went from all over my scalp, my face, my entire body; there wasn't one spot on my body that didn't have psoriasis. But now I probably have only one spot right here," said Tran.

Anthony Burton still wears long sleeves to hide his skin.

"I don't want people looking at me thinking I'm contagious or that I'm gonna give them something," Burton said.

He recently began taking a psoriasis pill in a Houston study, and he's beginning to see healing.

"Hopefully it'll clear me; it'll be all gone," said Burton.

Tran is taking a different experimental pill. After three months, his skin cleared entirely. Dr. Stephen Tyring is conducting both studies.

"The effectiveness of the pills is as least as good thus far as the shots," said Dr. Tyring.

He says the pills block proteins which cause the immune system to attack the skin. And they work differently from psoriasis shots.

"The pills can work for people; the shots aren't working because no one medicine's gonna work for everybody," Dr. Tyring said.

Rusty Patterson hasn't had the same results, though he's had some improvement.

"I'm a little disappointed. It slowed at first. It was really rapid," Patterson said.

None of the study drugs are a cure. When patients stop taking them, the psoriasis comes back. But Tran says the psoriasis pills have changed his life.

"It was a depressing feeling for years and now having new skin I feel like a new person," said Tran. "I'm glad. Thank God that it works."

The psoriasis studies are still taking new patients. The study drugs are free.

For more information you can call 281-333-2288 or go to the Dermatological Association of Texas website here.

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