Treatment of Severe Psoriasis in Children: Recommendations of an Italian Expert Group

Eur J Pediatr. 2017 Oct;176(10):1339-1354. doi: 10.1007/s00431-017-2985-x. Epub 2017 Aug 23.


This article provides comprehensive recommendations for the systemic treatment of severe pediatric psoriasis based on evidence obtained from a systematic review of the literature and the consensus opinion of expert dermatologists and pediatricians. For each systemic treatment, the grade of recommendation (A, B, C) based on the treatment's approval by the European Medicines Agency for childhood psoriasis and the experts' opinions is discussed. The grade of recommendation for narrow-band-ultraviolet B phototherapy, cyclosporine, and retinoids is C, while that for methotrexate is C/B. The use of adalimumab, etanercept, and ustekinumab has a grade A recommendation. No conventional systemic treatments are approved for pediatric psoriasis. Adalimumab is approved by the European Medicines Agency as a first-line treatment for severe chronic plaque psoriasis in children (≥ 4 years old) and adolescents. Etanercept and ustekinumab are approved as second-line therapy in children ≥ 6 and ≥ 12 years, respectively.

Conclusion: A treatment algorithm as well as practical tools (i.e., tabular summaries of differential diagnoses, treatment mechanism of actions, dosing regimens, control parameters) are provided to assist in therapeutic reasoning and decision-making for individual patients. These treatment recommendations are endorsed by major Italian Pediatric and Dermatology Societies. What is Known: • Guidelines for the treatment of severe pediatric psoriasis are lacking and most traditional systemic treatments are not approved for use in young patients. Although there has been decades of experience with some of the traditional agents such as phototherapy, acitretin, and cyclosporine in children, there are no RCTs on their pediatric use while RCTs investigating new biologic agents have been performed. What is New: • In this manuscript, an Italian multidisciplinary team of experts focused on treatment recommendations for severe forms of psoriasis in children based on an up-to-date review of the literature and experts' opinions.

Keywords: Biologics; Consensus; Pediatric; Psoriasis; Systemic therapy.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / genetics
  • Psoriasis / psychology
  • Psoriasis / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dermatologic Agents