Published online Feb 2, 2016. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v5.i1.17
Peer-review started: August 19, 2015
First decision: October 13, 2015
Revised: October 25, 2015
Accepted: December 17, 2015
Article in press: December 18, 2015
Published online: February 2, 2016
Psoriasis is a potentially debilitating inflammatory dermatosis affecting 0.2%-4.8% of the population worldwide causing a significant occupational, personal or psychosocial morbidity to these patients for life. The basic aim of psoriasis therapy is to control the disease to maximum possible extent and improve the patient’s quality of life. Management of triggers for flare-ups, lifestyle modifications, and dietary supplements are often recommended. Intermittent or rotational therapy with frequent alterations in treatment options is usually needed to reduce toxicity of anti-psoriatic drugs in the absence of safer alternatives. Currently, several biological agents categorized as either T-cell targeted (e.g., Alefacept, Efalizumab) or cytokine modulating (e.g., Adalimumab, Infliximab, Etanercept) are available for treating severe psoriasis. However, their high cost is often precluding for most patients. The usefulness of systemic (methotrexate, cyclosporine, acitretin or several other therapeutic agents) or topical (tar, anthralin, corticosteroids or calcipotriol ointments, phototherapy with or without psoralens) therapies has been well established for the management of psoriasis. The literature is also replete with benefits of less used non-standard and unconventional treatment modalities (hydroxycarbamide, azathioprine, leflunomide, mycophenolate mofetil, isotretinoin, fumarates, topical calcineurin inhibitors, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors agonists, statins, sulfasalazine, pentoxifylline, colchicine, grenz ray therapy, excimer laser, climatotherapy and balneophototherapy, peritoneal dialysis, tonsillectomy, ichthyotherapy, etc.). These can be used alternatively to treat psoriasis patients who have mild/minimal lesions, are intolerant to conventional drugs, have developed side effects or achieved recommended cumulative dose, where comorbidities pose unusual therapeutic challenges, or may be as intermittent, rotational or combination treatment alternatives.
Core tip: The clinicians must be aware of all available antipsoriasis therapies in view of variable therapeutic outcome(s) that may test one’s ingenuity in managing some “difficult to treat” psoriasis patients. The nonstandard and off-label therapies will remain an important alternative to more widely used measures in rotational/intermittent treatment(s) or until a therapy that is affordable, safe, effective, and more importantly, remittiv becomes available.