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February 1989

Topical Methotrexate Therapy for Psoriasis

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology, University of California, Irvine (Drs Weinstein and McCullough), and Duke University, Durham, NC (Dr Olsen).

Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(2):227-230. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670140079014

• In vitro percutaneous penetration of methotrexate is enhanced with 1-dodecylazacycloheptan-2-one (laurocapram [Azone]). Laurocapram-containing methotrexate formulations provide effective local inhibition of epidermal DNA synthesis in the in vivo hairless mouse and minipig models, providing the biochemical rationale for topical use in the treatment of psoriasis. Topical methotrexate (0.1%, 0.5%, and 1%) in a laurocapram-containing formulation was tested in a two-center double-blind pilot clinical study of 42 patients with plaque psoriasis. Drugs were applied twice a day for six weeks, and lesions were scored weekly for erythema, scale, and elevation. An overall improvement of 50% or more in the combined scores for erythema, scale, and elevation was obtained with 0.1% methotrexate (64% of patients), 0.5% methotrexate (59%), and 1% methotrexate (56%) vs the vehicle alone (25%). These preliminary findings suggest that methotrexate preparations that provide adequate methotrexate taneous absorption may have a beneficial effect in the treatment of psoriasis.

(Arch Dermatol 1989;125:227-230)