Update on Pharmacotherapy in Psychodermatological Disorders

Indian Dermatol Online J. 2020 May 10;11(3):307-318. doi: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_330_19. eCollection 2020 May-Jun.


Psychodermatological (PD) conditions encountered in dermatologic practice include primary psychiatric conditions such as delusions of parasitosis or secondary psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression due to dermatologic disease. The psychotropics include antipsychotic agents, anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants, and miscellaneous drugs such as anti convulsants. Anti psychotics are further divided into first-generation and second-generation drugs. Currently, second-generation drugs e.g., risperidone are preferred over first-generation drugs e.g., pimozide in delusional infestation owing to the side effect profile of the latter. Anti-anxiety agents include benzodiazepines used in acute anxiety and buspirone in chronic anxiety disorders. They are frequently prescribed along with antidepressants. Although dependence and necessity of tapering is a problem with benzodiazepines, delayed onset of action is a feature of buspirone. The commonly used antidepressants in dermatology include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline), selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine, desvenlefaxine, and duloxetine), norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (bupropion), tricyclic antidepressants (doxepin, amitriptyline, imipramine, and clomipramine), and tetracyclic antidepressants (mirtazapine). Miscellaneous drugs include anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin, naltrexone, and N-acetyl cysteine. The principles of PD treatment are first establish the psychiatric diagnosis, followed by initiating drug treatment. The choice of drugs is dependent on multiple factors such as side-effect profile, drug interactions, and co-morbid conditions. Usually, drugs are started at a low dose and gradually increased. A literature search was done in Pubmed, Google Scholar, and Medline databases, and articles on treatment were analyzed.

Keywords: Anti-anxiety agents; N-acetyl cysteinenaltrexone; anti convulsants; anti psychotics; antidepressants; pharmacotherapy; psychodermatological disorders.

Publication types

  • Review