Original Research

Safety and Efficacy of Halobetasol Propionate Lotion 0.01% in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis: A Pooled Analysis of 2 Phase 3 Studies

Author and Disclosure Information

Potent topical corticosteroids (TCSs) are the mainstay of psoriasis treatment. Safety concerns have limited use to 2 to 4 weeks. The objective of our study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of once-daily halobetasol propionate (HP) lotion 0.01% in moderate to severe plaque psoriasis through 2 multicenter, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled phase 3 studies (N=430). Participants were randomized (2:1) to HP lotion 0.01% or vehicle once daily for 8 weeks, followed by 4 weeks of follow-up. The primary efficacy assessment was treatment success (at least a 2-grade improvement in baseline investigator global assessment [IGA] score and a score of 0 [clear] or 1 [almost clear]). Additional assessments included improvement in psoriasis signs and symptoms, body surface area (BSA), and a composite score of IGA×BSA. Safety and treatment-emergent adverse events (AEs) were evaluated throughout. We found that HP lotion 0.01% demonstrated statistically significant superiority over vehicle as early as week 2 and also was superior in reducing psoriasis signs and symptoms and BSA involvement.



Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated, inflammatory disease affecting almost 2% of the population.1-3 It is characterized by patches of raised reddish skin covered by silvery-white scales. Most patients have limited disease (<5% body surface area [BSA] involvement) that can be managed with topical agents.4 Topical corticosteroids (TCSs) are considered first-line therapy for mild to moderate disease because of the inflammatory nature of the condition and often are used in conjunction with systemic agents in more severe psoriasis.4

As many as 20% to 30% of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis have inadequate disease control.5 Several factors may affect patient outcomes; however, drug selection and patient adherence are important given the chronic nature of the disease. A survey of 1200 patients with psoriasis reported nonadherence rates of 73% with topical therapy.6 In addition, patients tend to apply less than the recommended dose or abandon treatment altogether if rapid improvement does not occur7,8; it is not uncommon for patients with psoriasis to mistakenly believe treatment will improve their condition within 1 to 2 weeks.9 Patient satisfaction with topical treatments is low, partly because of these false expectations and formulation issues. Treatments can be greasy and sticky, with unpleasant odors and the potential to stain clothes and linens.7,10 Safety concerns with TCSs also limit their consecutive use beyond 2 to 4 weeks, which is not ideal for a disease that requires a long-term management strategy.

A potent/superpotent TCS that is administered once daily and has a safety profile that affords longer-term, once-daily treatment in an aesthetically pleasing formulation would seem ideal. Herein, we investigate the safety and tolerability of a novel low-concentration (0.01%) lotion formulation of halobetasol propionate (HP), reporting on the pooled data from 2 phase 3 clinical studies in participants with moderate to severe psoriasis.

Study Design

We conducted 2 multicenter, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group phase 3 studies to assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of HP lotion 0.01% in participants with a clinical diagnosis of moderate to severe psoriasis with an investigator global assessment (IGA) score of 3 or 4 and an affected BSA of 3% to 12%. Participants were randomized (2:1) to receive HP lotion or vehicle applied topically to the affected area once daily for 8 weeks.


Next Article: