If you’re experiencing raised, inflamed, and scaly patches of skin, with or without itchiness and pain, you could be experiencing plaque psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Plaques may appear anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the scalp, knees, elbows, and torso. The plaques may appear discolored. For example, on Caucasian skin the plaque may appear silvery-white. On skin of color, plaques may appear more of a purple, gray, or darker brown color. Certain things may trigger plaque psoriasis like medications, infections, stress, tobacco, or alcohol use. However, even after managing triggers people with plaque psoriasis may still experience uncomfortable symptoms.
In July of 2022 the drug company Arcutis Biotherapeutics announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of their new topical cream for plaque psoriasis called Zorvye (roflumilast). Zorvye does not contain a steroid medication like many other treatments. The active ingredient in Zorvye is called roflumilast, which is part of a drug class called phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitors. PDE-4 inhibitors work for psoriasis by reducing inflammation. Roflumilast itself is not a new drug. Roflumilast is currently available as an oral tablet to treat COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Zorvye also is not the only PDE-4 inhibitor being used for psoriasis. Other available PDE-4 inhibitcor medications available for psoriasis include oral tablets called Otezla (apremilast) and a topical ointment called Eucrisa (crisaborole).
Zorvye was approved for use as a topical treatment for plaque psoriasis in those who are 12 years and older. It may even be used on areas of skin that are touching or rubbing together, such as armpits and skin folds. According to the manufacturer’s website, Zorvye was shown to help 40% of people achieve significantly clearer skin and 50% of people to have clear or almost clear skin after 8 weeks of use in clinical trials. Zorvye cream should be applied to the affected areas of skin once daily and rubbed in completely. After applying the cream, the user should wash their hands, unless the hands also need to be treated with Zorvye. Common side effects reported with use of Zorvye include diarrhea, headache, insomnia, nausea, pain at the site of application, and infections.
However, Zorvye cream might not be right for everyone. People with moderate to severe liver impairment should not use Zorvye. Zorvye cream may also interact with certain medications. Talk with your health care provider or pharmacist. The approval of another drug for plaque psoriasis is great for people who suffer from the disease. Not all treatments work for everyone, so having another option to try will likely help many people find symptom relief. If you’re interested in trying something new for your plaque psoriasis, speak with your health care provider.