Combining Topical Psoriasis Treatment to Enhance Systemic and Phototherapy: A Review of the Literature

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Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects millions of people in the United States as well as worldwide. While there is currently no cure for psoriasis, many treatment options are available. Topical therapies are the mainstay for the majority of patients who have limited or mild psoriasis. Among these medications, topical vitamin D analogs (eg, calcipotriene) and corticosteroids (eg, betamethasone), and these drugs in combination, are the most widely prescribed psoriasis drugs and are the cornerstone of topical therapies. For patients with more severe disease, phototherapy, conventional systemic agents, and biologics are often indicated. Currently, the goal of treatment is to control the clinical symptoms of the skin, reduce systemic disease potential, and improve the patient's quality of life. Despite the availability of various therapeutic options for psoriasis, many patients go untreated, and even among those who are treated, many do not achieve complete resolution of the disease. The new consensus is to treat to a target of 1% or less of body surface area involvement. Innovative treatment strategies are needed to meet this goal and patients' desire to achieve clear skin. Combination therapies are widely used by physicians, and adjunctive topical therapies used with other antipsoriatic regimens have been demonstrated to provide many clinical benefits. This article reviews the most recently published clinical evidence of adjunctive use of topical agents with biologics, conventional systemic agents, and phototherapy, to better establish the role of topical agents in combination therapy for the treatment of psoriasis.

Medical Subject Headings

Administration, Topical; Combined Modality Therapy; Dermatologic Agents; Humans; Phototherapy; Psoriasis

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