Since people in the study were taking medications for psoriasis, it's very difficult to tease out the statins' role in improving symptoms, he adds.
What is needed, Menter tells WebMD, is a study of patients not taking psoriasis medications, half of whom are prescribed statins for high cholesterol and half of whom have normal cholesterol and thus are not taking statins. Then the people will be followed over time to see if symptoms improve more in the group taking statins.
The International Psoriasis Council, of which Menter is a member, is considering such a study, he says.
Robert Kalb, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the State University of New York, Buffalo, tells WebMD that many people with psoriasis also have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease and stroke that may require statin therapy.
"So it certainly makes sense to use statins in these patients," he says. "But at this point, I wouldn't put a psoriasis patient on statins to improve symptoms."
"If it turns out that statins lower psoriasis risk, that will be great for patients. We can put them on one drug not only to help improve psoriasis symptoms but also to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease," Kerry says.
The researchers didn't find out whether the dose or type of statin drug affected the results.