According to the patients, improvement of efficacy, long-term safety and improvement of compliance are needed. The topical treatment has been innovated during the last decade. Most important are the introduction of two new classes of treatments: topical vitamin D3 analogues and the retinoid tazarotene. To what extent, however, have we achieved developments which are in line with the needs as expressed by the patients? Improved efficacy has been realized by successful combinations of topical treatments. In particular, the combinations of dithranol, vitamin D3 and tazarotene with a topical corticosteroid proved to be very effective with a reduced profile of side-effects. The efficacy of vitamin D3 analogues and tazarotene is such that the efficacy of a potent corticosteroid (betamethasone-17-valerate) is approached; calcipotriol even showed an efficacy which is at least as good as this corticosteroid. The long-term safety of new compounds has been evaluated for at least 12 months in large studies. Remarkably for corticosteroids such information is available for only 12 weeks. However, intermittent applications of a topical corticosteroid in combination with another topical treatment provide an effective and safe long-term control of psoriasis. Compliance is a conditio sine qua non for an effective topical treatment. Important progress has been made to increase compliance. Short-contact dithranol has been popularized as an ambulatory treatment which is a highly effective approach as a care instruction programme. Formulations which are better from a cosmetical point of view have been developed for various topical treatments. Reduction of the frequency of applications proved to be possible for most treatments. Once daily applications for corticosteroids, vitamin D3 analogues and retinoids have been developed, and intermittent applications, a few times per week, are possible for corticosteroids, which proved to be very effective with a reduced profile of side-effects, and are also developed for dithranol.

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