Psoriasis: Recommendations for retinoids

  • FDA approved for adults with severe plaque type psoriasis.
  • Generally thought to be ineffective for psoriatic arthritis.  

Level of Evidence: II Strength of Recommendation: B

The oral retinoids are vitamin-A derivatives that have been used to treat psoriasis since the early 1980s. Although their exact mechanism of action in the treatment of psoriasis is not completely understood, retinoids are known to modulate epidermal proliferation and differentiation and to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activity. Etretinate was the first retinoid introduced for the treatment of severe psoriasis and replaced in 1988 by acitretin, the active metabolite of etretinate.

Navigate section 4 of the psoriasis guideline: Systemic agents

Citation note

When referencing this guideline in a publication, please use the following citation: Menter A, Korman NJ, Elmets CA, Feldman SR, Gelfand JM, Gordon KB, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis: section 4. Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with traditional systemic agents. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 Sep;61(3):451-85. 

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