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J Dermatol. 2003 Jun;30(6):458-63.

Efficacy and safety of cyclosporine versus methotrexate in severe psoriasis: a study from north India.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.


Treatment of patients with severe psoriasis is difficult. Among the number of systemic drugs that are available, methotrexate has long been used, but cyclosporine has been recently recommended for the management of severe psoriasis. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of daily cyclosporine with weekly methotrexate in the management of severe psoriasis. Thirty consecutive patients with severe psoriasis were randomly assigned to treatment with cyclosporine or methotrexate. The initial dose of cyclosporine was 3 mg/kg/day, which was increased to a maximum of 4 mg/kg after two weeks of therapy when the response was not adequate. Methotrexate was administered weekly at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg. Clinical response was assessed by calculating PASI score in all patients at biweekly intervals. Patients were followed up fortnightly up to a maximum of 12 weeks. The doses of both drugs were gradually tapered once >75% reduction in disease severity was attained. Marked improvement (>75%) reduction in PASI was noted in all patients except for one in the cyclosporine group. The median time for marked improvement was 5.3 weeks with methotrexate and 6.8 weeks with cyclosporine. Patients on methotrexate were found to have more rapid and complete clearance than those on cyclosporine. Both drugs were well tolerated. Side effects in both the treatment groups were minor, transient, and manageable. At doses with comparable safety profiles, methotrexate resulted in more rapid and cost effective clearance of patients with severe psoriasis. Cyclosporine can provide an effective and safe alternative.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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