Emerging topical treatments for psoriasis

Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2013 Dec;18(4):523-32. doi: 10.1517/14728214.2013.861418.


Introduction: Psoriasis is an immune-mediated chronic inflammatory skin disease which classically presents as erythematous, scaly plaques affecting extensor surfaces of the limbs, scalp and trunk. Approximately 80% of patients have a mild-to-moderate form routinely treated with topical medications, whereas phototherapy, systemic and biological therapies are typically reserved for treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

Areas covered: The major advances in psoriasis therapy in the past 15 years have been in new immunomodulatory and biological molecules, with a significant unmet need to have new, efficient and safe topical treatment options for the large percentage of patients for whom systemic therapy is not indicated. The available topical therapies (corticosteroids and vitamin D3 analogs) have remained relatively unchanged over the past several decades. This article reviews emerging topical drugs and formulations currently under evaluation in clinical trials.

Expert opinion: The time is right for a revolution in our topical therapy armamentarium. It has lagged significantly behind the systemic biological evolution of new drug development. Our large psoriasis population with mild-to-moderate psoriasis certainly deserves potent but safe and innovative topical agents with a new mode of action as well as with long-lasting clinical efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4 / metabolism
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / enzymology
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • STAT Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Vitamin D
  • Janus Kinases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4