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J Drugs Dermatol. 2006 Jun;5(6):527-32.

Clobetasol propionate for psoriasis: are ointments really more potent?

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  • 1Ohio State University College of Medicine, School of Public Health, Columbus, OH, USA.



Clobetasol propionate is the most common topical therapy used for psoriasis in the US. Conventional dermatologic wisdom is that ointment preparations provide the highest potency (due to their occlusive nature and moisturizing ability) and are best suited for psoriasis. However, patients often find application of ointment to be messy, raising concerns about both short-term and long-term adherence to treatment. This article reviews the current literature and assesses the relative potency of clobetasol propionate ointment compared to other clobetasol propionate preparations in the treatment of psoriasis. Relevant literature was identified by PubMed and Google searches. We included studies of psoriasis that reported the percentage of subjects that achieved desired efficacy endpoints, as well as studies that reported the subjects' mean change in symptoms from baseline. We excluded studies conducted before 1980 and those that allowed concomitant treatments.


Efficacy rates ranged from 17% to 80% for the different vehicles: ointment, solution, foam, cream, lotion, shampoo, and emollient.


Clobetasol propionate is a very effective treatment for psoriasis. Ointment preparations have similar efficacy to other preparations in clinical trial situations. In clinical practice, a situation in which patient preferences are more likely to affect compliance, it may be best to choose whichever vehicle patients find preferable.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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