Active ingredients from an inconspicuous, red-flowered plant are currently the best-proven weapons against severe and moderate forms of psoriasis. The so-called Fumarsäureester from the "common Erdrauch" (Fumaris officinalis) presented Prof. Dr. med. Wolfram Sterry, President of the German Dermatological Society and head of the Department of Dermatology at the Berlin Charité, as an effective and safe therapy even in severe cases of psoriasis. Thus, a few days ago at a training event for dermatologists at the University Dermatological Center Tübingen, a drug that was formerly assigned to the outsider medicine, became a standard medicine of conventional medicine.
Psoriasis Therapy: Fumaric acid brings breakthrough
Prof. Sterry was able to report from clinical practice at the Charité that fumaderm therapy is effective in almost 90 percent of all patients treated with this drug. And because of its low spectrum of side effects, it is also particularly suitable for the usually required long-term treatment in psoriatics.
Psoriasis or psoriasis is a very common inflammatory skin disease, as common as diabetes mellitus. It is based on an imbalance of certain cells of the immune system (TH1 and TH2 cells). The fumaric acid esters from the fumitory have an inhibitory effect on the TH1 cells, which are formed in Psoriatikern in excess. The convincing effect of fumaric acid therapy is also based on this mechanism.
The fume smoke and its effect on the immune system led until then to a wallflower existence, although its beneficial effect on skin ailments was well known. It is not without reason that the shrub from which fumaric acid ester is obtained is also popularly known as "grind herb". Previously, tea envelopes were made from the plant on the affected skin by psoriatics. By the way, the fume is also mentioned in ancient times in the Roman poet Pliny and the Greek physician Dioscorides as a medicinal herb.
Psoriasis: treatment against suffering
Immunotherapy with fumaric acid esters seems to make a breakthrough in the treatment of psoriasis patients possible. After a recent European study, many patients are dissatisfied with their therapy - not least because of the suffering, on the in Tübingen, the senior physician of the local university skin clinic, Dr. med. Monika Brück said, "The quality of life of patients with psoriasis is much more limited than previously thought, and serious studies report that the quality of life of psoriasis patients is even more limited than that of heart attack and cancer patients."
Social ostracism by society because of the unpleasant skin symptoms is only one of the factors. The physical suffering is also significant: "Psoriasis patients take twice as much painkillers and sleeping pills as healthy people, " wrote the president of the European psoriasis organization EUROPSO, Finn Seppo Heikki Salonen, in a publication.
Because they can not be adequately helped by conventional therapies, 62 percent of patients have consulted two or more physicians over two years because of their illness. Fewer than half of those affected use their prescription medicines because of lack of efficacy or fear of side effects.
Psoriasis: therapy with fumaric acid ester
The breakthrough of psoriasis immunotherapy in recent years using fumaric acid esters may alter patient behavior. These drugs were only approved in 1994 by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for the treatment of severe forms of psoriasis. Because of the influence on the immune system, it is also being investigated whether it is also not possible to improve other disorders based on disorders of the immune system with fumaric acid ester. For example, we are thinking of multiple sclerosis.
Meanwhile, other ways of immunotherapy are explored. In Tübingen, for example, the new director of the university's Department of Dermatology, Prof. Dr. med. Martin Röcken, on the use of interleukin 4 in psoriasis. Interleukins are messengers of the immune system that control reactions of the immune system. With the help of Interleukin 4, according to Prof. Röcken, the defense mechanism that has come out of control during psoriasis can be balanced. But until this treatment, which is currently at the experimental stage, can be widely accessed by patients, the fumaric acid ester from fumarace will claim the leading role among the effective drugs.
Fumaric acid ester: side effects and effects
Still, only severe forms of psoriasis, or those that do not respond to other treatments, are treated with systemic (that is, internal) therapies. Topical (ie external) treatment methods, as well as photo therapy or climatotherapy, have the advantage of acting on the locally affected part of the skin and thus represent less stress on the entire body.
Critics point to recent studies that suggest that an early, anti-inflammatory, internal therapy may reduce the risk of comorbidities such as high blood pressure (and thus late stroke and heart attack), lipid metabolism disorders and diabetes. The immunomodulatory effect of Fumarsäureester causes an inhibition of uncontrolled cell proliferation - dandruff is reduced and inflammation slowed down.
In rare cases, psoriasis therapy with fumaric acid esters can also lead to side effects, which usually only occur at the beginning of therapy. These include changes in blood levels, gastrointestinal problems, hot flashes and facial flushing. Careful medical supervision is therefore essential in fumaric acid therapy.