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.
- LOW-DOSE CYCLOSPORIN