Psoriasis and COVID-19: A narrative review with treatment considerations

Dermatol Ther. 2020 Jun 17;e13858. doi: 10.1111/dth.13858. Online ahead of print.


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 2020. The pandemic has affected the management of psoriasis not only for those who are under treatment but also for those who are about to begin a new therapy to control their disease. An increasing number of studies in the current literature have focused on the relationship between psoriasis and COVID-19 from different perspectives. This narrative review includes searching the PubMed and Web of Science databases using the keywords "psoriasis," "psoriatic arthritis," "coronavirus," "COVID-19," and "SARS-CoV-2." The search was supplemented by manual searching of reference lists of included articles. A total of 11 relevant original investigations and 6 case studies was identified. The search was updated in May 2019. Due to the absence of randomized controlled trials, it is not likely to have a robust evidence-based approach to psoriasis management in the era of COVID-19. However, the current literature may provide some clues for safety considerations. Conventional immunosuppressive therapies such as methotrexate and cyclosporine, and anti-tumor necrosis factor agents should not be preferred due to increased risk of infection, especially in high-risk areas. The use of cyclosporine may pose additional risk due to the side effect of hypertension, which has been reported to be associated with susceptibility to severe COVID-19. Considering that the current literature has provided no conclusive evidence that biologics increase the risk of COVID-19, withdrawal of these agents should be reserved for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. The treatment approach should be personalized, considering the advantages and disadvantages for each case separately.

Keywords: COVID‐19; coronavirus; pandemic; psoriasis; psoriatic arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review