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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 May;25 Suppl 2:2-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.03990.x.

Evidence-based recommendations on conventional systemic treatments in psoriasis: systematic review and expert opinion of a panel of dermatologists.

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  • 1Dermatology Department, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France.



There is a high level of heterogeneity regarding the practical use of conventional systemic treatment in psoriasis.


The aim of this study was to develop evidence-based recommendations for the use of traditional systemic treatments in psoriasis in daily clinical practice: methotrexate (MTX), cyclosporin and retinoids.


A scientific committee selected clinically relevant questions concerning the use of MTX, cyclosporin and retinoids in psoriasis. This selection was made using the Delphi method. A systematic literature search was performed in Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library. The articles selected for analysis were reviewed and the level of evidence was appraised according to the Oxford Levels of Evidence. An Expert consensus meeting took place in June 2010, including 66 dermatologists. Recommendations for daily use of psoriasis systemic treatments were made during interactive workshops where the evidence was reviewed. Agreement among participants and the impact of the recommendations on clinical practice were systematically assessed using voting procedure in a plenary session.


A total of 2800 references were identified, among which 122 articles were included in the systematic reviews. Three key recommendations on the use of MTX in psoriasis were formulated, including optimal dosage and route, use of folic acid, risk factors for liver fibrosis and monitoring of hepatotoxicity. The recommendations for cyclosporin in psoriasis focused on the modalities of cyclosporin prescription: dosage, scheme of treatment, optimal duration of treatment, renal toxicity monitoring and evidence for use of cyclosporin in non-plaque psoriasis (erythrodermic, pustular and ungueal). Recommendations were also made concerning the efficacy and safety of retinoids (mainly acitretin) in plaque and non-plaque psoriasis.


These recommendations for the use of traditional systemic therapies in psoriasis are evidence based and supported by a panel of dermatologists. The next step will be to disseminate these recommendations and assess the agreement of physicians who were not involved in generating the recommendations.

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