6-Thioguanine in the treatment of psoriasis: A case report and literature review

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Background: 6-Thioguanine is a purine analog primarily indicated for acute myelogenous leukemia. Its use in psoriasis was first investigated in the 1950s and current interest in serious treatments for psoriasis, such as cyclosporine, has renewed interest in this medication. Newer therapies, such as PUVA and retinoids, have side effects as do some older treatments, such as methotrexate, which fell into favor at the same time 6- thioguanine was being investigated. Reexamining older treatments can open up new therapeutic options in difficult cases. Objective: The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the use of 6-thioguanine in the treatment of psoriasis as well as an illustrative case report demonstrating the use and side effects of 6-thioguanine in a patient with pustular psoriasis. Topics reviewed include efficacy, side effects, laboratory monitoring, different dosing regimens, and proposed mechanisms of action. Conclusions: 6-Thioguanine has been highly effective in treating and maintaining improvement in patients with psoriasis. A study comparing efficacies with methotrexate would be extremely useful. Because of the possibility of severe bone marrow depression, 6-thioguanine is not a first-line treatment. However, with new dosing regimens, proper laboratory monitoring, and further studies, use of 6-Thioguanine could expand in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-550
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002


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