Psoriasis Home > Psoriasis Medication

Cyclosporine
Like methotrexate, cyclosporine acts by suppressing the immune system to slow down the rapid turnover of skin cells. It may provide quick relief of symptoms, but the improvement stops when treatment is discontinued.
 
The best candidates for this therapy are those with severe psoriasis who have not responded to, or cannot tolerate, other systemic psoriasis treatments. Its rapid onset of action is helpful in avoiding hospitalization of people whose psoriasis is rapidly progressing.
 
Cyclosporine may impair kidney function or cause high blood pressure (hypertension). Therefore, people must be carefully monitored by their healthcare provider.
 
Also, cyclosporine is not recommended for people who have a weak immune system or those who have had skin cancers as a result of PUVA treatments in the past. It should not be given with phototherapy.
 
6-Thioguanine
This psoriasis treatment is nearly as effective as methotrexate and cyclosporine. It has fewer side effects, but there is a greater likelihood of anemia. This drug must also be avoided by pregnant women and by women who are planning to become pregnant, because it may cause birth defects.
 
Hydroxyurea (Hydrea)
Compared with methotrexate and cyclosporine, hydroxyurea is somewhat less effective as a psoriasis treatment. It is sometimes combined with PUVA or UVB treatments.
 
Possible side effects include anemia and a decrease in white blood cells and platelets. Like methotrexate and retinoids, hydroxyurea must be avoided by pregnant women or those who are planning to become pregnant, because it may cause birth defects.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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