New Psoriasis Guidelines Focus on Treatment of Adults
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Topical agents, alternative medicine, and disease severity assessment are the subjects of the latest updated set of guidelines for the management and treatment of psoriasis issued jointly by the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation.

The latest guidelines' section on topical treatment outlines evidence for the efficacy, effectiveness, and adverse events related to topical steroids, topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, vitamin D analogues, tazarotene, moisturizers, salicylic acid, anthralin, coal tar, combinations with biologic agents, and combinations with nonbiologic treatments (methotrexate, cyclosporine, acitretin, and apremilast).

The guidelines noted the "key role" of topical corticosteroids in treating psoriasis "especially for localized disease," and include a review of the data on low-, moderate-, high-, and ultrahigh-potency topical steroids for psoriasis.

In general, all topical steroids can be used in combination with biologics, according to the guidelines, but the strongest recommendations based on the latest evidence include the addition of an ultra-high potency topical corticosteroid to standard dose etanercept for 12 weeks. Currently, 11 biologics are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of psoriasis.

In addition, "while not FDA approved for psoriasis, the topical calcineurin inhibitors tacrolimus and pimecrolimus are often employed in the treatment of psoriasis," can be helpful for "thinner skin such as facial and intertriginous areas," and can be steroid sparing when used for more than 4 weeks, according to the guidelines.

The guidelines also address the evidence for effectiveness, and adverse events in the use of several alternative medicines for psoriasis including traditional Chinese medicine, and the herbal therapies aloe vera and St. John's wort, as well as the potential role of dietary supplements including fish oil, vitamin D, turmeric, and zinc in managing psoriasis, and the potential role of a gluten-free diet.

The key game-changers from previous guidelines include the full section published on comorbidities plus the development of two new important cytokine classes: three IL-17 drugs and three new IL-23 drugs now available for moderate to severe psoriasis.

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