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4 Step Treatment Program

Thione Complex Inside™ and Steroids

Many people suffer from inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic scaling disease of the skin of an unknown cause, though the inflammation associated with the condition results and is aggravated, at least in part, from an excess of toxic molecules known as “free radicals.” Although psoriasis can come and go with long periods of remission, more often, it is a persistent, indolent condition. Since available non-steroidal products often fail to provide sufficient relief, physicians frequently resort to prescribing topical steroids to relieve the inflammation and the related dry, red, scaly psoriatic patches.

Due to potentially serious side effects, steroids should not be used for extended periods of time. Topical steroids can actually cause skin atrophy such as changes in skin color, skin thinning, easy bruising, fat wasting and hair loss within only a few weeks of steroid use. Unfortunately, by the time these signs are visible, some of these changes are already irreversible. Patients that undergo prolonged steroid use for psoriasis affecting large areas of the body may even develop some of the signs and symptoms of generalized hypercortisonism such as fluid retention (edema), weight gain, “moon facies” and abdominal striae. Excess amounts of steroids may even lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. To avoid these deletorious side effects, in patients with psoriasis, physicians often resort to prescribing a short-term period of treatment with steroids, followed by periods of treatment with non-steroidal products in an attempt to maintain a clinical remission. Although this method of treatment may result in periods of improvement, when steroid therapy is stopped too rapidly, the patient may actually experience an exacerbation or flare up of their psoriasis.

To avoid such a complication, steroid therapy should be gradually reduced rather than abruptly discontinued. Otherwise, the flare up from the steroid withdrawal is commonly, but incorrectly, assumed to be a negative response from the topical non-steroidal product that the patient has begun using after discontinuing the steroid. In fact, the body typically requires up to 7 days to completely metabolize the remaining steroid following discontinuance of treatment. The lingering amounts of the steroid still in the patient’s system may cause the skin to respond atypically to the new, non-steroidal treatment and, in some cases, the recurrence of the psoriatic lesions after steroid withdrawal are severe. During this time period, the patient may see little, if any, improvement in his condition and may become discouraged. Consequently, to properly and safely discontinue steroid therapy, the steroids should be gradually tapered off, while contemporaneously, the new non-steroidal treatment should be gradually introduced. The patient’s clinical response should be closely monitored and the patient should be forewarned that long-term improvement may take time. Numerous non-steroidal treatments are available, all with differing degrees of clinical success. One of the more successful non-steroidal treatments is zinc pyrithione, an antimicrobial and skin healing agent that has been shown to be effective in treating psoriasis. This medication also has antioxidant properties. However, recent research suggests that synergistic antioxidants may play a critical role in treating psoriasis by relieving the inflammation associated with psoriasis and the related dry, red, scaly psoriatic patches. Antioxidants neutralize toxic free radicals. Since excess free radicals lead to inflammation, antioxidants work by attacking the source of the problem rather than the symptoms. However, not all antioxidants are equal. Some are better than others and combinations of synergistic antioxidants are far superior to singular antioxidants.

The Thione Antioxidant Complex™ contains L-Glutathione, the body’s most important antioxidant, and its synergistic partners, Selenium, vitamins A, C, and E, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and Superoxide Dismutase to fight and neutralize the free radicals that occur in red and inflamed skin conditions. When combined with zinc pyrithione, as it is in the ThioSkin™ line of products, the Thione Antioxidant Complex provides a new, highly effective non-steroidal method for treating psoriasis.

Again, however, patients who are on steroids should not abruptly discontinue their use. Instead, Thione has developed a four-step regimen for gradual steroid tapering through the use of “compounding.” Compounding is a fairly common method used by pharmacies to mix precise amounts of different types of drugs together when recommended by a physician. Most pharmacies can compound a prescription steroid with our non-prescription ThioSkin™ cream and spray. By compounding the ThioSkin™ product (including zinc pyrithione) with corticosteroids, a patient can minimize potential steroid damage and avoid the effects of abrupt discontinuance. Over time, the steroids can be completely discontinued and the patient can thereafter utilize solely ThioSkin™ products for maintenance therapy. Although a patient should consult with his or her physician prior to changing any course of therapy, an example of a suggested regimen for gradual steroid tapering is as follows:

  • ThioSkin™ with clobetasol 0.5% for recalcitrant psoriasis, followed by
  • ThioSkin™ with clobetasol 0.25% to avoid abrupt steroid withdrawal, followed by
  • ThioSkin™ with clobetasol 0.125% to continue dosage tapering, followed by
  • ThioSkin™ without steroid as maintenance therapy
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