A new study shows two common treatments for psoriasis -- methotrexate and cyclosporine -- are equally effective in relieving symptoms of the disease.
Researchers in Amsterdam studied nearly 90 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Half of the patients were given methotrexate, and the other half were treated with cyclosporine. Researchers evaluated the side effects and effectiveness of each drug. They also recorded the time patients were in remission and assessed their quality of life. None of the participants had previously been treated with methotrexate or cyclosporine.
Results of the study show the overall response rate for both drugs was more than 90 percent. Seventeen patients in the methotrexate group and 14 patients in the cyclosporine group reached nearly complete remission. Twenty-six patients in the methotrexate group and 30 patients in the cyclosporine group achieved partial remission. However, after 16 weeks of treatment, no significant difference in overall effectiveness was seen between the two groups.
More than 100 patients in the methotrexate group and more than 150 patients in the cyclosporine group reported side effects. More patients in the methotrexate group reported nausea, and patients in the cyclosporine group were more likely to report headaches. There were no significant reported differences in quality of life between the two groups.
Authors of the study say the overall effectiveness of methotrexate is similar to that of cyclosporine. They conclude, "Differences between the treatments in terms of side effects, long-term adverse effects, ease of administration, and costs can be used to guide treatment decisions in individual cases."