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Short-Term Topical Corticosteroid May Offer Relief for Certain Type of Psoriasis

CHICAGO - Researchers suggest a short-term application of topical corticosteroids and maintenance with a less potent agent for patients// with intertriginous psoriasis (IP), according to a study published in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease. In a subset of patients, psoriasis is located in the intertriginous areas, including the skin folds of the underarms, breasts, groin, buttocks and genitals, according to background information in the article. "Patients who exhibit intertriginous psoriasis often complain about intense itching, irritation from sweating and soreness. These symptoms may have devastating psychological and emotional consequences." Management of IP usually includes the application of topical corticosteroids, but those medications have adverse effects with long-term use.

In this study, Alexander Kreuter, M.D, from Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial that compared 1 percent pimecrolimus (a new anti-inflammatory drug), 0.005 percent calcipotriol, 0.1 percent betamethasone and the vehicle (a similarly appearing cream with no active drug) in the treatment of IP with a four-week treatment period and a six-week follow-up without therapy. A total of 80 adult patients with the clinical diagnosis of IP were included, 20 patients in each of the four treatment groups.

"After four weeks of treatment, the three active compounds and the vehicle resulted in a significant decrease in mean (average) M-PASI score [Modified Psoriasis Area and Severity Index] ( 86.4 percent for 0.1 percent betamethasone, 62.4 percent for 0.005 percent calcipotriol, 39.7 percent for 1 percent pimecrolimus and 21.1 percent for vehicle)," the researchers found. "The 0.1 percent betamethasone was significantly more effective than 1 percent pimecrolimus during the study period." The researchers report 25
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