Drugs That Can Trigger Psoriasis Flares

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 18, 2023
2 min read

Some medications you take for other health conditions can make your psoriasis worse. If that happens, your doctor may suggest other treatments that don’t cause flare-ups to manage your health problems.

Check your medicine cabinet to see if you take any of the meds discussed below.

If you have high blood pressure, you might take a drug that slows your heart rate. Your doctor may call it a "beta-blocker."

Doctors don't know if all meds in this group make psoriasis worse. A few, though, have been linked to flares. They include:

If you’re on any of these, ask your doctor if you can switch to another medicine that won't affect your skin condition.

These are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They're painkillers that ease joint pain and swelling from psoriatic arthritis. But they also can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. Naproxen (Aleve) and indomethacin (Tivorbex) are NSAIDs that have been linked to the skin condition. Others also might cause problems.

If you have trouble with NSAIDs, ask your doctor if you can try a different kind of pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Read more about NSAIDs and their side effects.

Some drugs that treat mental health issues like depression or bipolar disorder can make your psoriasis worse. They include fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) and lithium.

A few medications that treat anxiety, panic disorders, and sleep problems may affect your skin condition, too:

  • Alprazolam (Niravam, Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)

Your doctor may lower the dose of these medicines to see if that helps. You might, though, need to switch to something else. Get more information on medications used to treat mental health conditions.

If you have heart disease or a heart rhythm problem, you might take a medicine that's been linked to psoriasis flares. These drugs include:

  • Amiodarone
  • Digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin)
  • Gemfibrozil (Lopid)
  • Quinidine

Talk with your doctor if you take one of these meds. Get tips on how to take heart medications safely and side effects to look for.

If your plans include travel to southern Africa or another part of the world where malaria is common, you might need medicine to protect yourself against the mosquito-borne disease. But be aware. If you have psoriasis, chloroquine (Aralen) and hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) can cause problems. Learn more about antimalarial drugs and their side effects.

A few other drugs to discuss with your doctor include:

  • Antibiotics like tetracycline. They’re often used to treat infections like pneumonia.
  • Drugs called interferons. They help your body fight off viruses like hepatitis C.
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil, Terbinex). This medicine treats infections caused by a fungus such as toenail fungus.