Calcipotriol/betamethasone ointment compared to narrow-band UVB in plaque psoriasis: first clinical and ultrasonographic study

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Abstract

Introduction

A wide range of treatments are available for psoriasis, including pharmaceuticals and phototherapy. Calcipotriol/betamethasone dipropionate and narrow-band ultraviolet phototherapy (NB-UVB) are both effective monotherapies for psoriasis; however, these two therapies have never been directly compared in a prospective clinical study. In this study, we compared the efficacy of combined calcipotriol/betamethasone dipropionate to NB-UVB in psoriatic patients with Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) 9–10 treated in a routine clinical practice.

Patients and methods

This prospective, observational study included 58 consecutive patients (age range, 19–65 years) diagnosed with recurrent chronic small plaque psoriasis. Patients were offered either topical therapy with a two-compound ointment containing calcipotriol (50 μm/g) and betamethasone dipropionate (0.5 mg/g) or NB-UVB (311 nm). Disease severity was assessed at baseline and posttreatment according to PASI and target lesion score (TLS) and by high-frequency (20 MHz) ultrasonography (HF-USG).

Results

No statistically significant difference between the groups was observed in baseline or posttreatment PASI scores. Both treatments resulted in substantial reductions in PASI: 85% and 82%, respectively, for the calcipotriol/betamethasone group and the NB-UVB group. Both treatments significantly decreased the subepidermal low echogenic band (SLEB) thickness, with no significant differences between the two groups in terms of the percentage reduction in SLEB.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates, for the first time, that NB-UVB phototherapy and fixed combination calcipotriol/betamethasone ointment are equally effective in treating plaque psoriasis in patients with PASI 9–10 in routine clinical practice. In addition, measurement of SLEB thickness with HF-USG may be a useful objective parameter to assess skin lesions.

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