Fumaric Acid Esters for Psoriasis
Title: Fumaric acid esters for severe psoriasis:
a retrospective review of 58 cases.
Authors: Harries MJ, et al.
Publication: Br J Dermatol. 2005 Sep;153(3):549-51.
Fumaric acid esters have been used to treat severe psoriasis
in northern Europe for over 20 years, however the treatment is
not licensed in the United Kingdom. The authors wanted to review
the efficacy and tolerability of fumaric acid esters in one UK
Between June 1999 and October 2003, 58 patients (25 women and
33 men) were treated with fumaric acid esters. 55 (95%) of the
58 patients had previously used other psoriasis treatment. Most
of them even used two or more treatments.
With fumaric acid esters, the authors found the following result:
- 55% of the patients showed improvement in their psoriasis.
10 of them were rated “clear” or “virtually
- 28% had no improvement
- 16% had worsening of the disease
The authors noted that side effects were common and were reported
in 66% of the patients. These mainly consisted of:
- Abdominal pain (61%)
- Diarrhea (55%)
- Flushing or redness (45%)
- Nausea (21%)
- Malaise (15%)
These side effects caused discontinuation of treatment in 15
patients after an average treatment period of 4.7 months.
Lymphocytopenia (lymphopenia or reduction in the number of white
blood cells) developed in 57% of the patients. This caused treatment
to be stopped in one patient.
The authors concluded that fumaric acid esters could be an effective
treatment in patients with severe psoriasis, even in those who
previously had other treatments that failed.