Update of Calcineurin Inhibitors to Treat Inverse Psoriasis: A Systematic Review

Dermatol Ther. 2018 Nov;31(6):e12728. doi: 10.1111/dth.12728. Epub 2018 Oct 8.


Inverse psoriasis commonly involves skin fold areas including the axillae, perianal skin, intergluteal cleft, inframammary, genital/inguinal, abdominal, and retroauricular folds. Topical calcineurin inhibitors are indicated for the treatment of atopic dermatitis but have also been studied in the treatment of psoriasis. The object of the present study is to define the efficacy of topical calcineurin inhibitors in the treatment of psoriasis. We checked for English-vernacular articles conveyed since 1990 in PubMed, Ovid/Cochrane, and Embase using "tacrolimus," "pimecrolimus," or "topical calcineurin inhibitors," and "psoriasis" as keywords. Eight double-blind studies and seven open studies displayed the ampleness of topical tacrolimus in psoriasis. Included studies demonstrated a considerable efficacy of topical administration of tacrolimus and pimecrolimus in the treatment of psoriasis, especially for facial, genital, and intertriginous areas. The role of topical tacrolimus and pimecrolimus in the treatment of psoriasis seems to be promising as shown by the results of double-blind and open studies. Because these agents do not cause cutaneous atrophy, they have a special role in facial, genital, and intertriginous psoriatic lesions. Both agents await additional investigation to determine their roles.

Keywords: calcineurin inhibitors; inverse psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Calcineurin Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Psoriasis / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / analogs & derivatives*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Calcineurin Inhibitors
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • pimecrolimus
  • Tacrolimus