Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials, or trials described as double-blind, were eligible for inclusion. Only trials of at least 50 patients were included. Trials in which the intervention treatment was administered after the designated assessment period were excluded from the review.
Specific interventions included in the review
The inclusion criteria for the interventions were not clearly specified. With the exception of experimental agents, any topical treatment for psoriasis was eligible for the review. Trials of maintenance therapy, as distinct from treatment, were not eligible.
The included studies were of: betamethasone dipropionate cream; betamethasone valerate cream or ointment 0.1%; butyrate cream (0.5 mg/g); calcipotriene ointment or cream (50 microg/g); calcipotriene cream (50 microg/g) plus betamethasone 17-valerate cream (1 mg/g) or clobetasone 17-butyrate cream or diflucortolone valerate ointment 0.1%; calcitriol ointment; clobetasol propionate 0.05% cream; coal tar (5%)-allantoin (2%)-hydrocortisone (0.5%) cream; desonide cream or lotion 0.05%; dithranol cream or stick; fluocinonide cream or ointment 0.05%; fluticasone propionate cream or ointment 0.05%; hydrocortisone buteprate 0.1% cream; mometasone furoate 0.1% ointment; mometasone furoate 0.1%-salicylic acid 5% ointment; salicylic acid 5%; tacalcitol ointment (4 microg/g); tazarotene gel 0.05, 0.1 or 0.5%. The active treatment had to be administered for a minimum of 14 days and for some pre-specified duration. It was unclear what comparators were used in the included studies.
Participants included in the review
The inclusion criteria for the participants were not clearly specified. Populations of patients with exclusively guttate, pustular or scalp psoriasis were excluded. The text states that most patients had mild to moderate psoriasis.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Studies that reported specific adverse events associated with each treatment were included in the review. Only treatment-related events and withdrawals due to treatment-related events were considered.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.