Biological therapies (immunomodulatory drugs), worsening of psoriasis and rebound effect: new evidence of similitude

Homeopathy. 2016 Nov;105(4):344-355. doi: 10.1016/j.homp.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Oct 12.


Background: Employing the secondary action or adaptative reaction of the organism as therapeutic response, homeopathy uses the treatment by similitude (similia similibus curentur) administering to sick individuals the medicines that caused similar symptoms in healthy individuals. Such homeostatic or paradoxical reaction of the organism is scientifically explained through the rebound effect of drugs, which cause worsening of symptoms after withdrawal of several palliative treatments. Despite promoting an improvement in psoriasis at the beginning of the treatment, modern biological therapies provoke worsening of the psoriasis (rebound psoriasis) after discontinuation of drugs.

Method: Exploratory qualitative review of the literature on the occurrence of the rebound effect with the use of immunomodulatory drugs [T-cell modulating agents and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors drugs] in the treatment of psoriasis.

Results: Several researches indicate the rebound effect as the mechanism of worsening of psoriasis with the use of efalizumab causing the suspension of its marketing authorization in 2009, in view of some severe cases. Other studies also have demonstrated the occurrence of rebound psoriasis with the use of alefacept, etanercept and infliximab.

Conclusion: As well as studied in other classes of drugs, the rebound effect of biologic agents supports the principle of similitude (primary action of the drugs followed by secondary action and opposite of the organism).

Keywords: Action mode of homeopathic remedies; Biological therapy; Homeopathy; Law of similars; Monoclonal antibodies; Paradoxical reaction; Psoriasis; Rebound effect; TNF antagonists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / adverse effects
  • Alefacept
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Infliximab / adverse effects
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / physiopathology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / adverse effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Infliximab
  • Alefacept
  • Adalimumab
  • efalizumab