Want to try an experimental psoriasis treatment for your skin or scalp?

Before a doctor can prescribe a treatment, it goes through years of research and testing, including multiple rounds of clinical trials, using volunteer patients to test a potential treatment’s safety and effectiveness. The clinical trials are developed in consultation with government regulators (here, the US Food and Drug Administration, or FDA), and run by physicians. Ultimately, a government review follows. Many proposed treatments fail along the way and never make it to market. But the ones that do can dramatically improve lives.

Some people love the idea of helping advance science, and getting first crack at what could be the “next big thing” – all for free and under a doctor’s supervision. Others can’t get past the phrase “human guinea pig” popping up in their mind. Whatever your current view on clinical trials, among those currently recruiting patients are two by an interesting company testing a promising pair of topical psoriasis treatments. If you or a family member has psoriasis, these might be worth looking into.

Arcutis Biotherapeutics reports that it has a potent “PDE4 inhibitor” (roflumilast) that can be applied topically to reduce psoriasis symptoms. There is currently a PDE4 inhibitor, Eucrisa (crisaborole), FDA-approved for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (eczema); and a PDE4 inhibitor pill for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis called Otezla (apremilast). Arcutis has developed roflumilast in a foam for scalp use, and in a cream for use on the rest of the body.

Roflumilast is not a steroid, which may allow for ongoing use in a way not possible with potent steroids. The belief is that topical application allows for the benefits to be targeted to the areas with psoriasis without the possible side effects that might come from consuming larger doses in pill form. Together, the cream and foam have already been tested in more than 500 people.

Roflumilast has been FDA-approved in pill form for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) since 2011.

Scalp psoriasis

The scalp psoriasis study is testing roflumilast in a topical foam applied once daily, for adults and teens ages 12 or older who have mild, moderate, or severe scalp psoriasis. Many of those with scalp psoriasis find a foam formulation a pleasant option for applying to the scalp. The study will last about 13 weeks, compensation may be available for your time, and the study is being conducted at approximately 40 locations in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe.

To learn more or inquire with no obligation, visit the scalp psoriasis study website.

Plaque psoriasis study

Adults and kids ages 2 or older who have mild, moderate, or severe plaque psoriasis may be eligible for the skin study, investigating a once daily cream. The study will last about 3 months, compensation may be available for your time, and the study is being conducted at approximately 80 locations throughout the US and Canada.

To learn more or inquire with no obligation, visit the plaque psoriasis study website.

If you are looking for a new treatment either due to your current plan not working, or because it is too expensive, one of these trials may be right for you or your loved one.

And if you do ultimately participate, be sure to let us know how it goes!

[Last updated: 5/15/2020]