Improving psoriasis patients' adherence to topical drugs: a systematic review

J Dermatolog Treat. 2020 Dec;31(8):776-785. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2019.1623371. Epub 2019 Jun 14.


Background: Poor adherence to topical antipsoriatic drugs limits treatment effectiveness.Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate how health care providers may improve psoriasis patients' adherence to topical treatment.Materials and methods: A systematic literature search was performed for English-language articles in Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, Cinahl, Scopus, and the Cochrane Library.Results: Ten studies of varying quality were identified. Two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) testing the adherence-improving potential of interventions by health care providers to support patients showed improvement in adherence to topical treatment. In a prospective study with a pre/postdesign, an individualized, face-to-face consultation reported an improvement in patient-reported adherence to topical treatment over a 9-week period. Based on seven qualitative studies obtaining insights from either patients or health care providers, health care providers may need to address socio-economic factors, health care system factors, and treatment-, patient-, and disease-related factors in interventions that aim to improve the adherence of psoriasis patients to topical antipsoriatic drugs.Conclusion: There is a need to develop better adherence-improving interventions. A good patient-health care provider relationship is considered crucial to adherence and may be an important intervention target. Before interventions to improve adherence to topicals can be recommended for the clinic, the intervention should be tested in high-quality RCTs.

Keywords: Adherence; health care providers; psoriasis; topical antipsoriatic drugs.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*


  • Dermatologic Agents