Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 349-354

The effects of acitretin on insulin resistance, glucose metabolism, and lipid levels in patients with psoriasis

1 From the Dermatology Department, Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, Jalan Rasah, Bukit Rasah, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
2 Dermatology Unit, Department of Medicine, University Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Adawiyah Jamil
Derpartment of Medicine, University Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Center, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur - 56000
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijd.ijd_328_21

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Context: Acitretin increases serum lipids. Data on its effects on insulin resistance and glucose metabolism are sparse and contradicting. Aims: The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of acitretin on insulin resistance, glucose metabolism, and lipids. Methods: Dermatology clinic in a public tertiary hospital. A cross sectional study involving chronic plaques psoriasis patients on acitretin plus topical therapy or topical therapy alone was performed. Fasting blood glucose (FBG), serum lipids, serum insulin, and glucose tolerance test (GTT) were performed. Homeostatic model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated. Psoriasis severity was evaluated using Psoriasis Area and Severity Index. Chi square and t-tests determined differences between cases and controls. Pearson's correlation coefficient test determined the relationship between continuous variables. Results: A total of 60 patients participated, 30 were on acitretin while 30 were on topical therapy. Psoriasis duration, disease severity, BMI, presence of metabolic syndrome, and other comorbidities between the two groups were similar. There were no significant differences in GTT, FBG, HOMA-IR, and serum lipids. Patients on acitretin >25 mg daily had lower FBG [4.4 (0.8) versus 4.9 (0.9), P = 0.04] and triglyceride [1.05 (0.33) versus 1.57 (1.03), P = 0.02] compared with doses ≤25 mg. Higher acitretin dose correlated with lower FBG (r = −0.36, P = 0.05) and triglycerides (r = −0.37, P = 0.05) while longer therapy duration correlated with lower total cholesterol (r = −0.37, P = 0.05). HOMA-IR showed inverse correlation with acitretin dose and duration (r = −0.10, P = 0.61 and r = −0.12, P = 0.53, respectively). Conclusion: Acitretin therapy resulted in increased triglyceride. The effect of acitretin on glucose metabolism and insulin resistance maybe dependent on the dose and duration of therapy.

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