Which medications are used in the treatment of psoriasis?

Updated: Mar 17, 2021
  • Author: Jacquiline Habashy, DO, MSc; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Medications used in the management of psoriasis include the following:

  • Topical corticosteroids (eg, triamcinolone acetonide 0.025-0.1% cream, betamethasone 0.025-0.1% cream

  • Ophthalmic corticosteroids (eg, prednisolone acetate 1% ophthalmic, dexamethasone ophthalmic)

  • Intramuscular corticosteroids (eg, triamcinolone): Requires caution because the patient may have a significant flare as the medication wears off; 3 months should elapse between injections

  • Intralesional corticosteroids: May be useful for resistant plaques and for the treatment of psoriatic nails

  • Coal tar 0.5-33%

  • Keratolytic agents (eg, anthralin, urea): Use of these medications may facilitate more direct steroid contact with the skin

  • Vitamin D analogs (eg, calcitriol ointment, calcipotriene, calcipotriene and betamethasone topical ointment)

  • Topical retinoids (eg, tazarotene aqueous gel and cream 0.05% and 0.1%)

  • Antimetabolites (eg, methotrexate)

  • Immunomodulators (eg, tacrolimus topical 0.1%, cyclosporine, alefacept, ustekinumab)

  • TNF inhibitors (eg, infliximab, etanercept, adalimumab)

  • Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors (eg, apremilast)

  • Interleukin inhibitors (eg, ustekinumab, secukinumab, tildrakizumab, guselkumab, risankizumab, ixekizumab, brodalumab) [2, 3, 4, 5]

  • Artificial tears

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) guidelines recommend treatment with methotrexate, cyclosporine, and acitretin, with consideration of contraindications and drug interactions. [6]

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