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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Pityriasis rubra pilaris

Other Names for this Disease
  • Familial pityriasis rubra pilaris
  • Pityriasis rubra pilaris--familial type
  • PRP
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How might pityriasis rubra pilaris be treated?

Treatment of pityriasis rubra pilaris (PRP) is mainly based on reports of patients' experiences. No controlled trials have been done, so the effectiveness and safety of treatments is unclear. Currently there are no treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for use in PRP.[1]

Management of PRP often involves systemic and topical therapies combined. Topical therapies can help with the symptoms and may be enough for people with mild PRP. Topical treatments are usually combined with systemic therapy for PRP that affects a large part of the body. Most people need systemic therapy to control the condition.[1]

Oral retinoids (synthetic vitamin A derivatives) are usually preferred as a first-line systemic treatment for PRP. Methotrexate may be an alternative option for people who should not use systemic retinoids, or who don't respond to systemic retinoid therapy. For people who don't respond well to retinoid or methotrexate therapy, options may include biologic TNF-alpha inhibitors, azathioprine, cyclosporine, and/or phototherapy. Topical treatments used for PRP may include topical corticosteroids, keratolytics, tar, calcipotriol, topical tretinoin, and tazarotene.[1]

Some of the medications used to treat PRP can harm a developing fetus and are not recommended for use right before or during pregnancy.[1] People seeking information about specific treatment options for themselves or family members should speak with their health care provider.
Last updated: 3/10/2014

  1. Andreas Katsambas and Clio Dessinioti. Pityriasis rubra pilaris. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate; March, 2014; Accessed 3/10/2014.

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • The Centers for Mendelian Genomics program is working to discover the causes of rare genetic disorders. For more information about applying to the research study, please visit their website.
  • lists trials that are studying or have studied Pityriasis rubra pilaris. Click on the link to go to to read descriptions of these studies.