What Should I Ask My Dermatologist?

If you have recently been diagnosed with psoriasis, you probably have many questions about the disease and its treatment. When meeting a dermatologist for the first time, it can be helpful to write down specific questions you would like answered. Make sure, however, that you give your doctor time to talk about what he or she thinks, too. Sometimes all your questions will be answered in the process—and you may learn about some other important points and tips along the way.

Over time, the appearance of psoriasis may change or your treatment preferences may change. Some people may tire of using time-consuming topical medicines, whereas others may become concerned about the potential side effects of a treatment over the long term. You might wonder, “What are some other treatments I can use for my skin?” The psoriasis armamentarium contains many medications, and a physician should be able to help you select different treatments over time.

When considering a new medication, be sure to review the following with your doctor:

How do I use this properly? Consider medication amount, schedule, and how to apply or take a medicine. For example, some oral medications should be taken with food, and some topical medications should be applied in a certain way. (For example, foam can melt, so it may be helpful to spray it into the cap and apply it from there rather than your hand.)

What side effects should I look for? Some topical medications may cause itching or burning, and some oral medications may affect your energy level. Knowing what to expect can help you get used to different side effects.

What are the signs that I should stop the medication? Review which side effects usually improve over time and which indicate that the medication should be stopped.

When should I expect to see improvements? Some medications take days to work and others may take weeks to months.

When should I return? Most physicians will tell you when to return, and it can be useful to make a plan for the frequency of visits. Make sure you under-stand what factors (abnormal blood tests, new side effects, worsening psoriasis) indicate that it is time to see a physician.