Although the range of therapeutic options has expanded dramatically in recent years, topical agents remain ubiquitous and indispensable tools for treating psoriasis at all levels of severity. The 2009 Canadian psoriasis guidelines considered evidence supporting various monotherapies and combination regimens.
Here we review all approved topical agents, including corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, vitamin D analogues, and retinoids, used in psoriasis and develop additional treatment recommendations, using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) system to evaluate strength of evidence, as in the original guidelines.
We propose that topical treatments have a place in the long-term management of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, including those receiving concomitant photo- or systemic therapy. Topical agents are effective and appropriate treatments for psoriasis as long as the physician is attentive to signs of local adverse events and seeks opportunities to reduce the dose or treatment frequency during chronic use.