Effectiveness and side effects of UVB-phototherapy, dithranol inpatient therapy and a care instruction programme of short contact dithranol in moderate to severe psoriasis.Eur J Dermatol. 2004 May-Jun; 14(3):159-65.EJ
The efficacy of UVB-phototherapy (UVB) and dithranol treatment for psoriasis is well established. However, well-conducted clinical trials on the efficacy of dithranol are not available, making comparison between these time-honoured treatments with currently available therapies impossible. We studied the effectiveness of dithranol in a care instruction programme using short time exposures (short contact treatment), UVB-phototherapy and dithranol treatment in an inpatient setting. In an open randomised study we included 250 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. The intention to treat group existed of 238 patients. 100 patients were treated with short contact dithranol, 78 Patients were treated with UVB and 60 patients underwent inpatient dithranol treatment. We found UVB and dithranol treatment to be effective and safe in moderate to severe psoriasis. The efficacy of short contact dithranol treatment equals the efficacy of UVB-phototherapy. Dithranol treatment at the inpatient department showed superior efficacy in clinical response rate and treatment duration as compared to UVB and short contact treatment. The median number of days in remission was significantly longer after short contact treatment as compared to inpatient treatment. Although the use of dithranol is hampered by skin irritation and staining, the present study shows that dithranol treatment has an outstanding efficacy and safety profile. Comparison between different antipsoriatic treatments should, besides clearing capacity, reconcile duration of remission, safety, patient acceptability and costs.