Which medications in the drug class Keratolytic Agents 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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Keratolytic Agents

Keratolytic agents are used to remove scale, to smooth the skin, and to treat hyperkeratosis.

Removing the thick scale allows topical corticosteroids and other topical medications to better reach the target tissues and achieve better results. This is especially important on the scalp. Many over-the-counter preparations can be used for this, most of which contain salicylic acid. Lactic acid, ammonium lactate, and urea are other ingredients that may be applied before or at the same time as other topical medications. Urea preparations stronger than 30% require a prescription, a variety of creams, lotions, and foams are available for this. Many “foot creams” contain combinations of keratolytics and may be applied to any area of the body needing scale removal.

Anthralin is also considered to be in the antipsoriatic therapeutic class.

Anthralin (Dritho-Creme, Zithranol)

Anthralin reduces the rate of cell proliferation. Its chemically reducing properties may also upset the oxidative metabolic processes, further reducing epidermal mitosis. It is not the first or second drug of choice due to irritation problems of normal skin surrounding lesions and staining of the skin.

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