Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. Several drugs may cause psoriasis or a flare-up of symptoms, including beta-blockers, lithium, and antimalarial drugs. A person should contact a doctor before changing or stopping any medications.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes red, purple, or greyish patches of skin to develop. These patches can also be flaky and covered with scales. Psoriasis can also cause an intense itching or burning sensation.
Over 8 million people in the United States have psoriasis.
Symptoms of psoriasis come during flare-ups, which can last different lengths of time.
When a person’s symptoms have cleared up, it means they are in remission. Remission periods for psoriasis can last for an average of 1–12 months at a time.
This article lists 12 drugs and drug groups that may trigger psoriasis symptoms and other factors that can cause psoriasis flare-ups.
Beta-blockers can slow down a person’s heart rate. They block the action of certain hormones, such as adrenaline, which helps prevent the “fight-or-flight” response to stress. By doing this, they lower stress on the heart and blood vessels.
Doctors prescribe beta-blockers to treat cardiovascular problems, including:
Oral beta-blockers may also lead to erythrodermic psoriasis and palmoplantar pustular psoriasis.
If a person takes beta-blockers that cause psoriasis, they may wish to
A person may also wish to treat their psoriasis with therapeutic agents and emollients.
A person should not stop taking lithium without first consulting a medical professional.
Psoriasis can be a side effect of antimalarials, such as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine.
It often takes between 2–12 weeks for these drugs to cause psoriatic skin lesions.
However, antimalarials can sometimes cause psoriasis to develop in people who did not previously have the condition. However,
Antimalarials can cause psoriasis by inhibiting the production of the enzyme transglutaminase in the skin. This can influence the production of cells, which can trigger pustular psoriasis.
If a person stops taking their antimalarials, the psoriasis lesions tend to go away within
The drug has strong links to plaque psoriasis.
Interferon-alpha is a treatment for hepatitis C and may cause psoriasis. It can also make symptoms of psoriasis worse for individuals who already have the condition.
Interferon-beta is a treatment for MS. It
Terbinafine is a synthetic antifungal agent. Doctors can prescribe this medication to treat various fungal infections, including:
- infections of the scalp
- infections of the body
- jock itch, a groin infection
- athlete’s foot
- infections of the fingernails and toenails
A person may wish to stop taking terbinafine and apply topical treatments to treat their psoriasis. Always talk with a doctor before stopping any medications.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors is a medication that doctors prescribe to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension, and other cardiovascular conditions. They can also help protect kidneys in people who have diabetes but do not have hypertension.
Due to the little research available, there is not a defined treatment plan for people with ACE inhibitor-induced psoriasis.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) targeted therapies, also known as TNF inhibitors, can treat various inflammatory conditions. These include inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), RA, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis.
TNF inhibitors suppress the production of TNF. TNF makes up a part of the inflammatory response, so suppressing this helps block certain inflammations from happening.
However, despite doctors sometimes using TNF inhibitors to treat psoriasis, these drugs can also
Doctors may continue treating the person’s underlying condition with TNF inhibitors while also treating their psoriasis with topical steroids, UV therapy, methotrexate, or cyclosporine. They may opt to take this approach if the person’s psoriasis is mild and the TNF inhibitors effectively treat their underlying condition.
However, if a person experiences severe psoriasis symptoms, they may need to switch to a different anti-TNF agent or a biologic drug to help ease the symptoms of psoriasis. Biologics are a class of TNF inhibitors.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe biologics to treat psoriasis, including psoriatic arthritis.
However, some research has suggested that biologics can trigger psoriasis or worsen the symptoms in individuals who already have the condition.
Of the 10 people, seven developed psoriasis during therapy, and three saw their symptoms worsen during therapy.
Two people discontinued their biologic therapy and saw their psoriasis symptoms clear up. However, six participants did not stop their biologic treatment and saw an improvement in psoriasis symptoms after treatment with topical steroids.
More studies are necessary to confirm why biologics can cause psoriasis to develop.
Benzodiazepines are a group of drugs that can treat a range of conditions. Medical professionals often prescribe these drugs to treat:
A 2005 report found associations between various drugs, including benzodiazepines, and an increased risk of psoriasis. However, there is little current research to confirm this link.
Using NSAIDs can sometimes lead to an increased risk of psoriasis. Some people with psoriasis have seen their symptoms worsen after using NSAIDs.
For example, an older
If a person has psoriasis, they may choose to switch to a different type of pain relief and stop taking NSAIDs.
Antibiotics are a common treatment for a variety of infections. They destroy or slow down the growth of bacteria and therefore treat diseases that bacteria can cause.
Some scientists claim that some antibiotics
However, more research would be necessary to confirm this link.
There are several other triggers for psoriasis that can worsen existing symptoms.
Common causes of psoriasis include:
Several drugs can either cause psoriasis to develop or worsen the symptoms in people who already have the condition.
These drugs include beta-blockers, lithium, antimalarial drugs, and ACE inhibitors. In some instances, a person with drug-induced psoriasis can treat it while still taking the medication that caused it.
However, other times, they may need to stop taking the drug.
A person should always check with their doctor before they stop taking any medication.