New study shows betamethasone's effectiveness in treating psoriasis

November 7, 2006

Bochum, Germany-Results of a recent study conducted at Ruhr University here suggest that the corticosteroid betamethasone is more effective for treatment of intertriginous psoriasis than is pimecrolimus or calcipotriol.

Bochum, Germany-Results of a recent study conducted at Ruhr University here suggest that the corticosteroid betamethasone is more effective for treatment of intertriginous psoriasis than is pimecrolimus or calcipotriol.

The study, published in the September issue of Archives of Dermatology, notes that corticosteroids are effective but have well-known side effects, that calcipotriol ointment is useful but may cause skin irritation, and that the calcineurin inhibitor pimecrolimus has also been shown to be effective.

In an attempt to find a more effective treatment, the researchers randomized 80 patients with psoriasis to treatment with 0.1 percent betamethasone, 1 percent pimecrolimus, 0.005 percent calcipotriol, or with the vehicle alone.

After four weeks of treatment, severity scores fell by 86.4 percent in the betamethasone group, 62.4 percent in the calcipotriol group, 39.7 percent in pimecrolimus patients and by 21.1 in the vehicle-only group. Pruritus visual analogue scores fell by 78 percent for betamethasone, 57 percent for calcipotriol, 43 percent for the vehicle and 35 percent for pimecrolimus.

Overall, the study concludes, betamethasone was significantly more effective than pimecrolimus. The study adds that differences among the other agents and with betamethasone did not reach significance.

The study authors write, “considering the long-term effects of topical steroids, combination strategies-for example, short-term treatment with steroids and maintenance therapy with pimecrolimus or calcipotriol-could be of therapeutical interest.”