Background: Topical corticosteroids are the most common first-line treatment for psoriasis. Tachyphylaxis, a decreased response to treatment with repetitive application of the drug, is a controversial phenomenon associated with topical corticosteroid treatment.
Objective: We sought to prove or disprove tachyphylaxis to occluded halobetasol 0.05% versus vehicle.
Methods: Patients with plaque psoriasis were recruited to this study. The study involved 3 phases (1, 2A, and 2B) with each phase being separated by a treatment vacation period. In phases 1 and 2A, 2 plaques were randomized to either halobetasol 0.05% or vehicle ointment application. In phase 2B, halobetasol 0.05% was applied to both. Target Lesion Severity Scale was used for clinical assessment.
Results: Twenty patients were enrolled. No difference in time to clearance (P=.88) or time to recurrence (P=.92) of the treated plaques was found between phases 1 and 2A. Percentage of improvement was higher in phase 2A compared with phase 1 (89.4%, P<.05 vs 71%, P<.05), as a result of reduction of vehicle effect. In phase 2B, a greater improvement was found for previously corticosteroid-treated plaques.
Limitations: Limitations are small sample size and 1 corticosteroid tested.
Conclusion: No evidence of tachyphylaxis to the topical corticosteroid halobetasol 0.05% ointment treatment in patients with plaque psoriasis was found.
Keywords: compliance; corticosteroid; halobetasol 0.05%; psoriasis; tachyphylaxis; vehicle.
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.