Review of Safety and Efficacy of Approved Systemic Psoriasis Therapies

Int J Dermatol. 2019 Jun;58(6):649-658. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14246. Epub 2018 Sep 23.


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease which affects nearly 3% of the adult US population. Due to the chronic nature of the disease and need for long-term treatment, psoriasis is associated with substantial disease burden and negative impact on patients' quality of life. In the past, systemic agents such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, and acitretin have been the mainstay treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. Multiple new molecular targets have been recently identified, and novel biologic therapies directed at these targets have been approved leading to a paradigm shift in psoriasis management. However, despite the availability of several treatment options and continued introduction of highly efficacious biologics, undertreatment of psoriasis patients remains a huge problem. This can be largely attributed to several causes including high cost of biologics, lack of experience, and reluctance of practitioners to initiate or switch to systemic treatment regimens in moderate to severe psoriasis patients. In this article, we aim to provide a concise review of mechanism, safety, and efficacy of the approved systemic treatments for psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biological Products
  • Dermatologic Agents