Methotrexate and ciclosporin combination for the treatment of severe psoriasis


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Fatma Aydin, MD, Department of Dermatology, Medical Faculty, Ondokuz Mayis University, 55139 Kurupelit, Samsun, Turkey.


Background.  Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that often requires long-term therapy to control the symptoms. Combination therapies for severe psoriasis have advantages for disease control and are thought to reduce long-term side-effects.

Objective.  To assess the efficacy and side-effects of methotrexate plus ciclosporin used in combination for the treatment of severe psoriasis.

Methods.  In this prospective study, 20 patients were treated with the combination of methotrexate and ciclosporin. Methotrexate was given intramuscularly as a single weekly dose of 10 mg and ciclosporin at a dose of 3.5 mg/kg/day in two equally divided doses. Clinical response was assessed according to clinical outcome and the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index which were evaluated at the beginning of therapy (PASI1), after cessation of one agent (PASI2), and at the end of therapy (PASI3).

Results.  All the patients had previously received one or more systemic treatment. There were 10 women and 10 men (mean age 44 years). The median (minimum to maximum) duration of methotrexate and ciclosporin treatments were 12.5 (4–55) and 14.0 (4–80) weeks, respectively. Median duration of combination therapy was 9.5 weeks (range 4–50). The median of previously used and end-of-study cumulative doses of methotrexate were 181.8 mg (range 0–785) and 330.8 mg (range 50–845), respectively. The median PASI scores were decreased by 77.4% (range 51.2–90.2) and 75.9% (range 10.1–100) at PASI2 and PASI3, respectively.

Conclusion.  Patients with severe psoriasis had clinically significant improvement after the initiation of combination therapy. Healing rate was decreased upon cessation of one of the medications. Short-term side-effects were minor, transient and manageable. Long-term follow-up of patients treated with this combination is needed.