West Houston Dermatology

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Houston Psoriasis Patients & Flu Season

If you are a patient with psoriasis, this flu season you must content with not only the possibility of your autoimmune disease flaring up, but also the realities of protecting yourself against the flu.  This is especially true if you are a patient taking immunosuppressant biologics and drugs like methotrexate and cyclosporine.  Biologic drugs that treat psoriasis by suppressing the immune system include Humira, Remicaide, Simponi, Stelara, Enbrel, and Amevive.  Because some psoriasis treatment drugs such as biologics and other non-biologic agents treat the disease by suppressing the patient’s overactive immune system, this can be a challenge for patients who want to receive a flu vaccine this fall.  This does not mean that patients who have psoriasis should not get vaccinated, but it does mean that they should take special precautions.  First, psoriasis patients should get vaccinated as early as possible and make sure that they receive only inactive flu vaccine via inter-muscular injection.  Therefore, it might be preferable to go to your personal physician than receive a flu shot at work or at a local pharmacy so that the healthcare provider giving the injection fully understands your special needs.  Other suggestions to get through Houston’s flu season are to avoid people with the flu, frequently wash the hands, and avoid toughing the eyes, nose, and mouth as this is an easy pathway for flu virus and other germs.  If you have more questions about the flu and your personal psoriasis treatment, West Houston Dermatology’s Stephen Mahoney, M.D. is a national expert in treating psoriasis patients.  Additional information can also be obtained through the National Psoriasis Foundation.