American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 165–180

Systemic Therapies for Psoriasis: An Evidence-Based Update

  • Laura F. Sandoval
  • Allison Pierce
  • Steven R. Feldman
Evidence-Based Review

DOI: 10.1007/s40257-014-0064-x

Cite this article as:
Sandoval, L.F., Pierce, A. & Feldman, S.R. Am J Clin Dermatol (2014) 15: 165. doi:10.1007/s40257-014-0064-x



The treatment of psoriasis has evolved over the years, with the focus now largely on the use of biologic agents. With treatment options expanding, evidence-based studies to guide physicians’ treatment decisions become increasingly important.


Our objective was to review current literature to provide an evidence-based update on systemic therapies for psoriasis.


A systematic review of the literature was conducted from 1 January 2012 through 1 July 2013 to identify all randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews of systemic psoriasis treatments.


A total of 46 publications were identified and reviewed. Randomized clinical trials for the treatment of psoriasis focused heavily on biologic agents, both currently approved agents and anti-interleukin (IL)-17 agents in development. The anti-IL-17 agents appear effective according to phase II clinical trials. Several new oral agents are being studied, and, although they do not appear as effective as the biologic agents, they may be an option as an alternative to traditional oral agents, with more favorable safety profiles. Several systematic reviews focused on efficacy among the biologics, with infliximab consistently superior to the others, and etanercept the least effective of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors. Longer-term safety data on biologics is now available and encouraging.


Current studies of traditional oral therapies are lacking.


Current studies continue to support the use of biologic agents in the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis, with better efficacy and safety profiles than traditional systemic agents. Newer anti-IL-17 agents and several new oral agents are in development and have shown promise in clinical trials.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura F. Sandoval
    • 1
  • Allison Pierce
    • 1
  • Steven R. Feldman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Center for Dermatology ResearchWake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center BoulevardWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyWake Forest School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health SciencesWake Forest School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA