The treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis is a rapidly expanding area. Recent insights into the pathogenesis of this disease as a T-cell mediated process has led to a greater understanding of the mechanisms of action of conventional FDA-approved systemic therapies such as methotrexate, cyclosporine, acitretin, and psoralen with ultraviolet A phototherapy. It has also led to the development of rationally targeted therapies against key components of the immune process critical in the generation of the psoriatic plaque. Safety and efficacy data from clinical studies of 4 biologic agents furthest along in their development are reviewed. These results are promising, adding to the armamentarium for treating this disease.
Although rarely life threatening, psoriasis has a physical and emotional impact on patient quality of life that is comparable to other life impacting diseases.