In a preliminary study published in this month's Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the cholesterol-lowering drug Simvastatin (brand name Zocor®) was able to decrease the severity of psoriasis. Usually we hear about how patients with Psoriasis have to avoid certain drugs which may flare their skin disease. It's a pleasant surprise to hear the opposite for a change.
Seven patients with Psoriasis were treated with Simvastatin 40mg daily for 8 weeks. There was a statistically significant reduction in the severity of their skin disease (average improvement 47%). One patient dropped out of the study due to headaches. Two patients achieved a 75% improvement. These values are impressive, as good as some drugs we currently use to treat Psoriasis.
Such a small study needs to be reinforced with additional numbers before we can begin to tout simvastatin or any of the related statin drugs as psoriasis treatments. But if you are going to be starting a cholesterol-lower drug anyway and are already suffering from Psoriasis, you may wish to let your doctor know about the potential dual benefits of this drug for you.
Shirinsky IV et. al. Efficacy of Simvastatin in Plaque Psoriasis: A Pilot Study. J Am Acad Derm 2007: 529-31