Treatment of pustular psoriasis: from the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Aug;67(2):279-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.01.032. Epub 2012 May 18.


Background: A task force of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board was convened to evaluate treatment options for pustular psoriasis. Meetings were held by teleconference. Consensus on treatment of pustular psoriasis was achieved. Pustular psoriasis has been classified into localized and generalized forms. There are a number of treatment modalities, but there is little evidence-based information to guide the management of this type of psoriasis.

Objectives: The purpose of this article was to present treatment recommendations to aid in the treatment of patients with pustular psoriasis.

Methods: A literature review was conducted to examine treatment options for pustular psoriasis and assess the strength of the literature for each option.

Results: Overall the quality of the literature about the treatment of pustular psoriasis is weak. Treatment should be governed by the extent of involvement and severity of disease. Acitretin, cyclosporine, methotrexate, and infliximab are considered to be first-line therapies for those with generalized pustular psoriasis. Adalimumab, etanercept, and psoralen plus ultraviolet A are second-line modalities in this setting. Pustular psoriasis in children, in pregnant women, and in localized forms alter which agents are first-line modalities as concerns such as teratogenicity need to be factored into the decisionmaking for the individual patient.

Limitations: There are few high-quality studies examining treatment options for pustular psoriasis.

Conclusions: Treatment of patients with pustular psoriasis depends on the severity of presentation and patient's underlying risk factors. The data are extremely limited for this type of psoriasis and we encourage further exploration.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference

MeSH terms

  • Ficusin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • PUVA Therapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Specialty Boards


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Ficusin