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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dermatology & Skin Care > Psoriasis Treatment

Psoriasis Treatment Cost


How Much Does Psoriasis Treatment Cost?

 
low costWith Health Insurance: $5-$50+ Copays or 10%-50% Coinsuranceaverage costWithout Insurance: $100-$1,000+ Topical Meds, Per Monthhigh costWithout Insurance: $2,000-$11,000+ Phototherapy or Biologic Meds
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Psoriasis is a common, non-contagious inflammatory condition that results in itchiness, redness, flaky patches and thickening on the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but occurs most often on knees, elbows and trunk.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays of $5-$50 or more, or coinsurance of 10%-50% -- which can reach $500 or more for certain drugs. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, copays for phototherapy[1] can be $50 or more per session. Treatment for psoriasis typically is covered by insurance, but certain medications might not be covered in some cases. For example, Aetna's clinical policy bulletin on biologic therapies for psoriasis[2] states that some medications are covered only when certain criteria are met, including other treatments having failed.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, psoriasis treatment typically costs about $100-$1,000 or more per month for topical creams and ointments or for traditional oral medications. The cost depends on the medication and the amount used. For example, Drugstore.com charges about $65 for a tube of DermaTop corticosteroid ointment. It charges about $80 for a tube of betamethasone-dipropionate, a generic corticosteroid ointment. It charges about $120 for a tube of Dritho-Scalp a topical medication that slows skin growth. Drugstore.com charges about $220 for a tube of Tazarotene, a retinoid cream that slows skin growth. It charges about $360 for a tube of Dovonex, a synthetic vitamin D3 analog that slows skin growth and removes flaky skin. Drugstore.com charges about $45 for a one-month supply of methotrexate tablets. It charges about $360 for a one-month supply of generic cyclosporine oral immunosuppressant medication. It charges $950 or more for a one-month supply of Soriatane, a brand-name oral retinoid.
  • And psoriasis treatment typically costs about $2,000-$6,000 or more for phototherapy -- or up to $11,000 for initial treatment, then $1,000-$2,000 per month afterward, for newer biologic[3] medications. For example, the national average cost per session[4] for phototherapy is about $63, with a total of $3,780 or more for a typical 30 weeks of twice weekly treatment. Or, some patients buy a home unit[5] for about $2,000-$6,000 or more. And Drugstore.com charges about $1,900 for a one-month supply of syringes filled with the biologic Enbrel. (Enbrel would cost $11,400 total for the first three months of treatment, then $1,900 per month afterward.) Biologics might be used in severe, debilitating cases that have not responded to other treatments.
Related articles: Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment, Eczema Treatment, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • Psoriasis typically can be diagnosed based on symptoms and a visual examination. In some cases, a skin biopsy might be required.
  • The doctor typically will first prescribe a topical cream, ointment or shampoo to remove flaky skin and control redness and itching. The National Psoriasis Foundation has a guide to topical psoriasis treatments[6] .
  • In some cases, the doctor might prescribe phototherapy[7] , either alone or in conjunction with a medication.
  • In severe cases where other treatments do not work, a doctor might prescribe either a traditional oral systemic medication[8] such as methotrexate[9] or cyclosporine[10] . Or, the doctor might prescribe a newer biologic[11] drug, which is made from laboratory-cultured cells. These drugs include etanercept[12] (brand name Enbrel), which is given at home by subcutaneous injection, usually twice a week for three months, then once a week, or Infliximab[13] (brand name Remicade) which is injected intravenously in a doctor's office -- usually three times over six weeks, then once every two months.
  • PubMed Health offers an overview of psoriasis[14] .
Additional costs:
  • About 5% of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Treatment for psoriatic arthritis typically involves some of the same traditional or biologic oral drugs that are sometimes used to treat psoriasis and can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per month, depending on the drug.
Discounts:
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator[15] for clinics with sliding fee scales based on income.
  • Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs. Any patient without prescription drug coverage who is not eligible for Medicare typically qualifies for Together Rx Access[16] , a discount card that offers 25%-40% off many brand-name drugs.
  • Some manufacturers offer copay assistance for patients covered by insurance. For example, Enbrel offers a copay support program[17] in which patients pay no copay for the first six months, then $10 per month.
Shopping for psoriasis treatment:
  • A dermatologist should diagnose and treat psoriasis. The American Academy of Dermatology offers a dermatologist locator[18] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.psoriasis.org/document.doc?id=1378
  2.  www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/600_699/0658.html
  3.  www.psoriasis.org/sublearn03_severe_biologics
  4.  www.psoriasis.org/document.doc?id=1387
  5.  www.inspire.com/groups/talk-psoriasis/discussion/home-uv-units/
  6.  www.psoriasis.org/Document.Doc?id=164
  7.  www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/phototherapy
  8.  www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/systemics
  9.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000547/
  10.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000155/
  11.  www.psoriasis.org/sublearn03_severe_biologics
  12.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000193/
  13.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000267/
  14.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001470/
  15.  findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/Search_HCC.aspx
  16.  www.togetherrxaccess.com/p/prescription-savings/about-together-rx-access/enroll.aspx
  17.  www.enbrel.com/ENBREL-support-card-program.jspx
  18.  www.aad.org/find-a-derm
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