New Topical Therapies for Psoriasis

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2022 Jan;23(1):13-24. doi: 10.1007/s40257-021-00649-w. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated skin disease with a significant impact on patients' quality of life. Mild-to-moderate forms of the disease usually require long-term topical treatment, but prolonged use of corticosteroids and vitamin D analogues is limited by adverse effects. With further understanding of psoriasis pathogenesis, new molecules are emerging aiming to fulfil these clinical needs. Tapinarof, an aryl hydrocarbon receptor modulator, has completed a phase III study and demonstrated good efficacy results, even in long treatment courses, with a favourable safety profile. It additionally appears to have a promising remitting effect as patients presented with an average relapsing time of over 3 months. Roflumilast, a phosphodiesterase type 4 inhibitor, also underwent a phase III study with significant lesion improvement and notable pruritus management, and with no reported side effects. Roflumilast was evaluated as an option for intertriginous areas with good outcomes in a small sample, but larger trials are required. The Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription pathway has been targeted in recent clinical investigations with promising options, currently with brepocitinib pending phase IIb results. Ongoing preclinical studies involving interleukin-2 inhibition, RNA modulators and amygdalin analogues may lead to forthcoming clinical trials. New topical drugs are successfully emerging and future research comparing them to classical options will dictate their clinical role in the treatment of psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aminopyridines / therapeutic use
  • Amygdalin / analogs & derivatives
  • Benzamides / therapeutic use
  • Boron Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / therapeutic use
  • Cyclopropanes / therapeutic use
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • MicroRNAs / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitriles / therapeutic use
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use
  • Resorcinols / therapeutic use
  • Stilbenes / therapeutic use


  • Aminopyridines
  • Benzamides
  • Boron Compounds
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Interleukin-2
  • MicroRNAs
  • Nitriles
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • Resorcinols
  • Stilbenes
  • Roflumilast
  • Amygdalin
  • ruxolitinib
  • tapinarof
  • tofacitinib
  • crisaborole