Acitretin for Psoriasis Treatment
Title: A review of acitretin, a systemic retinoid
for the treatment of psoriasis.
Authors: Lee CS and Koo J.
Publication: Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2005 Aug;6(10):1725-34.
Acitretin is a second-generation, systemic retinoid treatment
approved for psoriasis since 1997, and is considered the treatment
of choice for pustular and erythrodermic psoriasis.
However, acitretin is less effective by itself for plaque psoriasis,
although it is often used in combination with ultraviolet B light
therapy or psoralen plus ultraviolet A light therapy. These combination
therapies may potentially minimize toxicity lowering the dose
of both drug and ultraviolet radiation.
All systemic retinoid are potential teratogens (chemicals that
cause malformation of embryo or fetus). Side effects of acitretin
are dosage dependent. The most common of these are:
- Cheilitis (inflammation of the lips)
- Hair loss
Acitretin does not suppress the immune system, and is generally
safe for long-term use without any time limit restriction. This
makes this drug very useful in combination therapy and for maintenance
Editor’s Note: systemic medicine is a medicine
that affects the entire body (as compared to local or topical
medicines). Retinoid is a chemical as well as natural derivative
of vitamin A.
Pustular psoriasis is a rare and severe form of the disease,
where painful small, pus-filled lesions are present usually in
the palms of the hand and soles of the feet. Erythrodermic psoriasis
is marked with erythema or redness, as well as flaking and thickened
skin that cover the trunk of the body.