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August 13, 2019

Defining Prurigo Nodularis

Prurigo Nodularis (PN) is a skin condition where hard, itchy lumps form on the skin. Prurigo means itch, and nodularis means nodules. The itching caused by PN can be so intense that people often scratch themselves to the point of bleeding.  The itching is made worse by sweating, heat, or irritation from clothes. If you have symptoms of PN, or have been diagnosed, read on for more info!

The Cause

The itching itself is what causes the nodules to form. When the skin is scratched repeatedly, it causes injury and the skin then protects itself by creating a thicker layer, which is where the nodules come from. This is called the itch-scratch cycle. Although the cause of PN is not always clear, certain conditions will increase the chances of someone developing PN. Some of those include:

  • Psychological conditions
  • Reduced liver or kidney function
  • Allergies
  • Skin diseases such as:

Diagnosis and Treatment

Excessive scratching also causes nerves to thicken in affected areas and these thicker nerves will then send stronger than normal itching sensations. A skin biopsy is usually performed to determine if PN is the cause of the itching, as a biopsy will show the thickened nerves. Other tests, such as blood, liver, and kidney tests, will also help to identify any underlying cause of the itch.

Treatment of PN is different for every patient and it may take several attempts to find a treatment plan that works for you. Common PN treatments are:

  • Corticosteroid Creams are applied to nodules and covered with airtight and waterproof bandages to reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections are injected directly into nodules to reduce inflammation.
  • Oral Corticosteroids are ingested to reduce inflammation.
  • Other Ointments with menthol or phenol cool and soothe itchy skin.
  • Capsaicin Cream uses the heat in your body to block nerve messages.
  • Oral Antihistamines are ingested antihistamines.
  • SSRIs alter serotonin signals in the skin.

Habit reversal therapy is often needed, in addition to medications, to help patients reduce the amount of scratching, which can be very habit-forming. Other treatments can include cryotherapy, photochemotherapy, and immunosuppressants if the common treatments are not effective.

Even with a healthy amount of available treatment options, most people never have a complete resolution of the nodules; therefore, clinical studies to test new treatments are needed to find different and better ways to treat or even cure PN.

ActivMed Practices & Research, Inc. is currently seeking patients interested in helping to evaluate new options that may potentially help treat certain PN symptoms. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost.  Compensation is available for travel.  If you or someone you know is suffering from the chronic itch and nodules associated with PN, this study may be a great opportunity.  To learn more and to see how you or someone you love may qualify for a PN study, please click HERE.

 

References:

https://www.aocd.org/page/PrurigoNodularis

https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7480/prurigo-nodularis

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August 21, 2018

Clinical trials play a key role in helping to advance medical research. Clinical trials are scientific studies that ultimately aim to find better ways to prevent, treat, and diagnose diseases. If you have ever considered volunteering to participate in a clinical research trial, it’s important to understand how clinical trials work.

Clinical trials are done in different phases. Each phase has different criteria and a different purpose.

  • Phase I studies are meant to assess the safety of a drug or device and usually include 20-100 volunteers. About 70% of drugs will pass this phase.
  • Phase II studies are designed to test the effectiveness of a drug or device, while continuing to monitor and assess safety. Several hundred volunteers may take part in phase II trials and they can last from several months to two years. About one-third of drugs successfully complete phase I and phase II studies.
  • Phase III studies involve several hundred to several thousand volunteers. The purpose is to test effectiveness and to monitor for any adverse reactions. About 25-30% of drugs will make to the next phase.
  • Phase IV studies test the safety and effectiveness of treatment and carried out once the drug or device has been approved by the FDA.

No matter the phase, each clinical trial is led by a Principal Investigator, or PI. The PI, who is often a board-certified physician, works with a medical team and follows a master plan called a protocol. The protocol explains detailed information about what will be done during the clinical trial. Even if the same study is being conducted in a different part of the country, the exact same protocol will be followed.

Before deciding whether or not to participate in a research study, volunteers are provided with key information that explains the details of the study. This is called the informed consent process. Informed consent is more than just signing a document, it involves providing appropriate time for potential participants to ask questions and discuss any questions and concerns before deciding to participate.  Throughout the study, informed consent is maintained with participants through the disclosure of any newly discovered potential risks, and the ongoing disclosure of information as the research progresses.

Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a very personal decision. Participating may give you the opportunity to access potential new treatment options and give you a better understanding of your condition. ActivMed understands the importance of clinical research and the value that participants bring to the advancement of medical knowledge.  ActivMed is currently enrolling for studies in a variety of conditions. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more about how you or someone you love may qualify to participate in a clinical research study at ActivMed, click HERE.

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August 8, 2018

August brings the arrival of Psoriasis Awareness Month. A chronic, systemic disease of the immune system, psoriasis most often appears on the skin as raised, itchy red patches. Living with psoriasis can seem like an uphill battle, but it’s important to know that if you’re struggling with psoriasis, you’re not alone.

The National Psoriasis Foundation reports that as many as 7.5 million American have psoriasis. Included in that number are people like you and me, but also people that many look up to, even idolize, like Kim Kardashian and Cyndi Lauper.

Cyndi Lauper is an icon is the music world, known for many hits that are still popular today. She revealed to PEOPLE magazine her psoriasis struggle that began back in 2010 with irritation on her scalp that she simply chalked up to bad hair dye.

Unfortunately, her scalp irritation then turned into an entire body rash complete with itchy, scaly skin over the next couple of years. Her immune system suffered as well. It took a toll physically and emotionally, and affected her ability to perform. Now, Lauper has found a treatment plan that helps her to manage her symptoms. She also avoids eating and drinking things that are associated with inflammation.

Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the U.S. and not every treatment is a good fit for each person struggling to mange systems. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with psoriasis, ActivMed is currently enrolling studies for potential new treatment options at the Portsmouth, NH and Beverly, MA sites. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see if you qualify for a study at our Portsmouth, NH location, CLICK HERE. For our Beverly, MA location, CLICK HERE.

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June 20, 2018

Psoriasis is a disease that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically occurs on places like knees, scalp, and elbows, but can really show up anywhere. The uncomfortable rash can sometimes itch or burn. Psoriasis doesn’t stop at the skin. While the physical struggles associated with psoriasis can be considerable, the disease can also affect your mental and emotional health.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from depression. It’s even been said that depression is the number one comorbidity of psoriasis. Why is that? Some doctors believe that biological changes that cause psoriasis may play a part. The stigma associated with visible psoriasis can also make people depressed.

For most people with psoriasis, the red, scaly patches can be embarrassing. Many people will opt to wear long sleeves to conceal their psoriasis, and in the summer this is especially hard as heat and sweat can make psoriasis worse. While you may be anxious about showing too much skin, you don’t want to allow yourself to become overheated.

Many people with psoriasis will notice that their symptoms seem to improve during the summer months. While you may notice a reduction in your skin patches with added sunlight, remember to limit your sun exposure! Getting burnt could trigger a flare.

While psoriasis is one of the most common skin diseases, there is no cure. If you or someone you love is struggling to manage psoriasis symptoms, ActivMed is currently enrolling in studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a study at our Beverly location click HERE or at our Portsmouth site, click HERE.

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