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Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a placebo-controlled, double-blind study

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The purpose of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy and tolerability of topical Aloe vera extract 0.5% in a hydrophilic cream to cure patients with psoriasis vulgaris. Sixty patients (36M/24F) aged 18-50 years (mean 25.6) with slight to moderate chronic plaque-type psoriasis and PASI (Psoriasis Area and Severity Index) scores between 4.8 and 16.7 (mean 9.3) were enrolled and randomized to two parallel groups. The mean duration of the disease prior to enrolment was 8.5 years (range 1-21). Patients were provided with a precoded 100 g tube, placebo or active (with 0.5% Aloe vera extract), and they self-administered trial medication topically (without occlusion) at home 3 times daily for 5 consecutive days per week (maximum 4 weeks active treatment). Patients were examined on a weekly basis and those showing a progressive reduction of lesions, desquamation followed by decreased erythema, infiltration and lowered PASI score were considered healed. The study was scheduled for 16 weeks with 12 months of follow-up on a monthly basis. The treatment was well tolerated by all the patients, with no adverse drug-related symptoms and no dropouts. By the end of the study, the Aloe vera extract cream had cured 25/30 patients (83.3%) compared to the placebo cure rate of 2/30 (6.6%) (P<0.001) resulting in significant clearing of the psoriatic plaques (328/396 (82.8%) vs placebo 28/366 (7.7%), P<0.001) and a decreased PASI score to a mean of 2.2. The findings of this study suggest that topically applied Aloe vera extract 0.5% in a hydrophilic cream is more effective than placebo, and has not shown toxic or any other objective side-effects. Therefore, the regimen can be considered a safe and alternative treatment to cure patients suffering from psoriasis.

Keywords: Aloe vera; herbal extracts; pharmaceutical creams; psoriasis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical Physiology, Malmo University Hospital, Malmo, Sweden 2: Department of Chemistry, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan 3: American Social Health Association, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA 4: Medical Faculty, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan 5: PR Hospital, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan

Publication date: August 1, 1996

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