Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease with unpredictable prognosis. Given the immunomodulatory effects of statins, the present study was conducted to determine whether the addition of orally administered simvastatin to the topical betamethasone, a standard antipsoriatic treatment, can produce a more powerful therapeutic response against this clinical conundrum.
In a double-blind study, 30 patients with plaque type psoriasis were randomly divided into two equal treatment groups. Group 1 received oral simvastatin (40 mg/d) plus topical steroid (50% betamethasone in petrolatum) for 8 weeks and group 2 received oral placebo plus the same topical steroid for the same time period. Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score was checked before and at the end of the treatment period.
PASI score decreased significantly in both groups, but the decline of PASI score was more significant in patients who received simvastatin (Mann-Whitney test; P-value = 0.001). No side effect or any laboratory abnormality was detected in patients.
Our work, which is the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study on this subject, shows that oral simvastatin enhances the therapeutic effect of topical steroids against psoriasis. The increased risk of cardiovascular accidents in psoriatic patients and the protective effect of statins against cardiovascular disease further encourages their use in the treatment of this clinical conundrum.