According to a study, researchers examine some complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) may be helpful in the treatment of psoriasis. The study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

Researchers conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating all documented CAM psoriasis interventions. Included interventions had more than one randomized clinical trial (RCT) supporting their use.

The researchers identified 44 RCTs (17 double-blind, 13 single-blind, and 14 nonblind), 10 uncontrolled trials, two open-label nonrandomized controlled trials, one prospective controlled trial, and three meta-analyses.

The criteria were further refined to focus on those treatments identified in the first step that had the highest level of evidence for plaque psoriasis with more than 1 randomized clinical trial supporting their use. This excluded therapies lacking randomized clinical trial (RCT) data or showing consistent inefficacy.

Plaque Psoriasis

Compared with placebo, topical indigo naturalis (studied in five RCTs with 215 participants) showed significant improvements in psoriasis. Curcumin (evaluated in five studies with 118 participants) showed statistically and clinically significant improvements in psoriasis plaques.

Twenty studies evaluated fish oil treatment, with most RCTs showing no significant improvement in psoriasis; however, most uncontrolled studies showed benefit with daily use. There was modest efficacy associated with meditation and guided imagery therapies (three single-blind RCTs with 112 patients).  Acupuncture showed significant improvement in one meta-analysis of 13 RCTs versus placebo. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicines

The CAM therapies with the most robust evidence of efficacy for treatment of psoriasis are indigo naturalis, curcumin, dietary modification, fish oil, meditation, and acupuncture. This review will aid practitioners in advising patients seeking unconventional approaches for the treatment of psoriasis.