J Dermatolog Treat 2011 Feb 14;22(1):31-7. Epub 2010 Jan 14.
The Department of Dermatology, Kasr El-Aini University Hospital, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.
Background: Conventional therapy of extensive psoriasis is effective but has complications. Biologics are safer but expensive.
Objective: To assess the efficacy of sulfasalazine and pentoxifylline, which have TNF antagonizing and anti-proliferative action in the treatment of psoriasis.
Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, 32 patients with extensive psoriasis were divided into four groups: group A received sulfasalazine; group B received pentoxifylline; group C received both drugs; and group D received methotrexate. The Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score was done at weeks 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8.
Results: A significant reduction in PASI score occurred in groups C and D (p = 0.043 and 0.018, respectively). A significantly higher percentage of PASI score reduction occurred in group D compared with groups A, B and C (p = 0.006, 0.003 and 0.030, respectively). An excellent response occurred in one patient (14.3%) in group D. A very good response occurred in two patients (22.2%) in group C, and in five patients (71.4%) in group D. A moderate response occurred in three patients (37.5%) in group A, one patient (12.5%) in group B, and one patient (14.3%) in group D.
Conclusion: Although incomparable to methotrexate, combined sulfasalazine and pentoxifylline produced a good response in cases of extensive psoriasis. Multicentre studies are needed to validate these results.