Remission of ordinary psoriasis following a short clearance course of cyclosporin.
Levell NJ, Shuster S, Munro CS, Friedmann PS
We set out to show that the assumption is incorrect that continuous treatment with cyclosporin is necessary in psoriasis, as this tenet forms a basis for current recommended treatment regimens. Sixty patients with mild to moderate plaque psoriasis were allocated at random to treatment with oral cyclosporin 5 mg/kg/day (30 patients) or topical dithranol and ultraviolet B therapy (30 patients) for up to 16 weeks until clear (median time 6 weeks cyclosporin and 8 dithranol), and the times to relapse compared. The patients were seen monthly for up to 8 months, and the severity and the extent of psoriasis were assessed. Relapse, defined as return of psoriasis to 50% of the area at the start of the trial or patient demand for further treatment, was not significantly different between the groups (hazard ratio 1.11, 95% CI 0.55-2.32). No patients suffered a rebound of severe disease and none relapsed in the first 8 weeks after stopping treatment. The relapse rate was higher following cyclosporin from 8 to 28 weeks after treatment and following dithranol from 28 to 34 weeks. The patients with arthritis had a higher median joint severity score at relapse than prior to treatment with cyclosporin. At the end of 8 months, 5 patients treated with dithranol and 8 patients with cyclosporin remained clear, 75% and 67% having relapsed. We conclude that rapid relapse does not occur after clearance of mild to moderate plaque psoriasis with cyclosporin and the relapse rate was no different from dithranol treatment.