'Such a relief to have treatment that works'
A DERMATOLOGY specialist is providing life-changing treatment to sufferers of an incurable skin condition.
Psoriasis is a lifelong condition that can cause itchy, red and scaly areas to develop on the body, causing pain, discomfort and psychological problems for many people.
And one Grimsby man, who knows all too well the effects it can have is Paul Robbins, 49.
In his early 20s, Mr Robbins, of College Avenue, Grimsby, was diagnosed with psoriasis – his skin was so dry it would crack and bleed.
The condition got to such a point that he felt embarrassed to go out without his arms and legs covered up – his confidence also dropped dramatically.
Doctors have prescribed Mr Robbins with various creams and ointments in the past but nothing has helped until now.
Last year he was referred to Dr Aamir Butt, a consultant dermatologist, based in a dedicated psoriasis clinic at Scunthorpe General Hospital.
The clinic is one of only six across the UK and the only one outside of a university teaching hospital.
Here Mr Robbins was given a medication called Biologics – a new treatment that suppresses part of the immune system causing psoriasis.
There are many types of Biologics to suit each patient, but Mr Robbins takes his through an injection once every two week and he says the results have turned his life around.
Mr Robbins said: "Within a month, 50 per cent of my psoriasis had cleared.
"It was such as relief after almost 30 years to finally have a treatment that works.
"I was shocked at first to learn I would have to inject myself, but with the help of a district nurse to guide me through the early stages I was fine.
"I feel like a different person and I am happy to wear shorts and T-shirts again.
"Nothing is guaranteed to last forever, but at the moment this drug is the best I have.
"I would urge other psoriasis patients to ask their doctor to be referred to the clinic in Scunthorpe."
Dr Butt said: "Unfortunately, there is often a lack of knowledge about this condition as people think it is contagious.
"It is not, but this fear can lead to stigmatisation and isolation for people with psoriasis.
"Not everyone is suitable for this new form of medication.
"We have a dedicated psoriasis clinic where we assess patients' disease for the level of severity, both from a physical and psychological aspect.
"People can choose to come to the clinic. All they have to do is go to their GP and ask to be referred here."