Combination treatment with methotrexate and cyclosporin for severe recalcitrant psoriasis

Br J Dermatol. 1999 Aug;141(2):279-82. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.02976.x.


An increasingly important approach to the management of patients with severe psoriasis is the concurrent use of two systemic treatments. Previous guidelines have advised against the use of methotrexate and cyclosporin in combination. We report the successful use of a combination of methotrexate and cyclosporin in the treatment of 19 patients with severe, recalcitrant psoriasis, 15 of whom had psoriatic arthropathy. Most patients had previously received two or more systemic treatments. Before combination treatment was started nine of the patients were taking methotrexate and 10 were taking cyclosporin at the maximum tolerated doses. The duration of combination treatment was bimodally distributed, with seven patients having short-term treatment (mean +/- SD duration 18. 9 +/- 15.7 weeks) and 12 patients having long-term treatment (mean +/- SD duration 193.2 +/- 160.6 weeks). Those patients who received short-term treatment did not develop any evidence of toxicity from either agent. Of those patients on long-term treatment, three developed mild impairment of renal function that returned to normal following a reduction in dose of cyclosporin, and three had impairment of renal function (following long-term cyclosporin monotherapy) that improved, but did not normalize, following a reduction in dose of cyclosporin. In each case, combination treatment for psoriasis resulted in good control of both skin and joint problems using lower doses of each agent than would have been used for monotherapy. We conclude that the combination of methotrexate and cyclosporin is an effective treatment for this group of patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage*
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage*
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate