Background: The therapeutic effects of some histological staining agents on psoriasis have been reported in the past. One of these agents is eosin, which is still currently used in routine treatment, although it has never been formally tested in a randomized controlled trial. Aim: To compare treatment with eosin in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis vs. short-course topical steroid, a well-defined, evidence-based treatment. Methods: A randomized trial was designed and conducted. The Skindex-29 and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12 questionnaires, and Psoriasis Activity and Disease Index (PASI) were used before treatment in 43 patients. Five days after treatment, PASI was measured again. Results: Five days after treatment, a significant mean reduction of PASI was observed in both groups: 6.8 (95% CI 5.5-8) for eosin, and 5.2 (3.2-7.1) for steroids. The difference between the two groups was not significant (P = 0.161). Conclusions: Eosin has a short-term effect similar to topical steroids. The low cost of eosin treatment and its limited collateral effects suggest that eosin could be an effective steroid-sparing agent in the initial phase of psoriasis treatment.
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