Drugs That Can Trigger Psoriasis Flares

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 07, 2020

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.

Blood Pressure Meds

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.

Have Psoriasis? Protect Your HeartThis inflammatory disease can affect more than just your skin. Follow these tips to protect your ticker.62


SPEAKER: Psoriasis is

a whole body disease.

And sometimes, its symptoms

can put you at risk for heart

disease, but there are things

you can do to help your heart.

Keep your weight in check.

A lifestyle change that includes

losing weight and eating

a Mediterranean diet

helps reduce your risk of heart


Because psoriasis is

an inflammatory disease,

it puts you at risk

for other inflammatory problems,

like hardening of the arteries,

the leading cause of heart


That means it's

important to keep

your cholesterol low.

How can you do this?

Choose leaner cuts of meat,

low fat dairy,

and monosaturated fats

like the ones found in olive

and canola oils.

Ditch the trans fats found

in fried foods

and commercial products

like cookies and crackers.

Because people

with severe psoriasis

are more likely to have heart

issues, any habits that push

that risk higher

should be curbed.

Don't drink excessively.

Exercise three times a week.

And if you haven't already,

quit smoking.

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Risk of cardiovascular disorders in psoriasis patients: current and future.”,<br>National Psoriasis Foundation: “Certain psoriatic arthritis symptoms increase heart disease risk.”<br> Mayo Clinic: “Metabolic syndrome.” <br>National Psoriasis Foundation: “Why Does Psoriasis Increase Risk for Obesity, Heart Disease?” <br>Mayo Clinic: “Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.”<br> Journal of the American Medical Association: “Risk of Myocardial Infarction in Patients With Psoriasis.”<br> U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Risk of cardiovascular disorders in psoriasis patients: current and future.”/delivery/d7/a8/d7a88140-49a7-4837-b189-f0faeb1169d8/vd-1384-psoriasis-and-caring-for-your-heart_,4500k,400k,2500k,750k,1000k,.mp401/10/2018 16:21:0000psoriasis caring for your heart video/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/psoriasis_caring_for_your_heart_video_alt/650x350_psoriasis_caring_for_your_heart_video_alt.jpg091e9c5e818ce28e


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.

Mental Health Medicines

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.

Heart Drugs

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.

Antimalarial Drugs

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.

Other Medicines That Might Trigger a Flare

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.
WebMD Medical Reference



American Heart Association: "Medications for Arrhythmia," "Types of Blood Pressure Medications."

CDC: "Choosing a Drug to Prevent Malaria."

Kim, Grace K. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2010.

National Psoriasis Foundation: "Psoriasis Causes and Known Triggers."

NIMH: "Bipolar Disorder in Adults."

UptoDate: "Psoriatic Arthritis (Beyond the Basics)."

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