A new, once-daily treatment gel is available on prescription today for the itching, flaking and soreness caused by the common condition scalp psoriasis.
Xamiol gel (pronounced "zamiol"), containing calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate, combines the effects of a Vitamin D-like ingredient to help normalise the speed at which skin cells are produced and a steroid to reduce inflammation.
Typical scalp psoriasis treatments include coal tar, dithranol, salicylic acid, steroid creams and ointments, as well as Vitamin D based treatments. In the past, patients have expressed their dissatisfaction with certain treatments, for being ineffective, difficult to apply, making the hair look dirty or smelling strongly. This in turn can affect their willingness to stick to treatment routines. This new combination is an almost clear and odourless gel that is simply applied once-daily: for example in the evening, then left on overnight and washed out the following morning.
"The Psoriasis Association welcomes the introduction of new therapies such as Xamiol that can improve the quality of life of patients and expand the treatment options for this frustrating and traditionally difficult to treat condition", commented Helen McAteer, Information Officer for the Psoriasis Association.
Dr Girish Gupta, Consultant Dermatologist from Monklands Hospital, Lanarkshire added, "the gel formulation makes it easy for people to use; very often they may stop treatment if it is messy or makes the hair look greasy or smell unpleasant. An effective new treatment will be welcomed by sufferers of this uncomfortable and often embarrassing scalp condition."
Psoriasis affects 1.2 million people in the UK and up to 80% of these will have scalp psoriasis. Thick skin scales, itching and redness may develop across the scalp, around the hairline, forehead, neck and behind the ears. Being such a visible condition, scalp psoriasis impacts on quality of life - sufferers feel self-conscious, may avoid social situations and can feel isolated and depressed.
"Apart from the itchiness and discomfort, the worst thing about scalp psoriasis is how visible it is - people stare at you, and they mistakenly think that the psoriasis is contagious" said Sally McCulloch, aged 51 from London. "I feel so self-conscious with redness across the top of my forehead and thick, white, scaly skin across my scalp. It's reassuring to have new treatments, especially if they're easy to use, and won't leave me with greasy, lank hair."
The unique gel combination is manufactured by LEO Pharma and is available on prescription for the topical treatment of scalp psoriasis in adults. It is applied to affected areas of the scalp once-daily for four weeks. After this period, repeated treatment can be initiated under medical supervision.