To determine whether the antidepressant bupropion may be useful in treating atopic dermatitis and psoriasis
in nondepressed patients.
Ten nondepressed subjects with atopic dermatitis and 10 with psoriasis
completed a single-track, open-label treatment protocol with bupropion-SR in doses of 150 mg/day and 300 mg/day, administered sequentially for 3 weeks each, followed by a 3-week wash-out. Treatment response was assessed at the end of each 3-week period.
Six of the 10 subjects with atopic dermatitis showed a reduction in affected body surface area by the end of 6 weeks of bupropion treatment, with affected area increasing toward the prestudy baseline in all responders following bupropion discontinuation—a highly significant treatment effect (p
= .0003). Of the 10 subjects having psoriasis, improvement over baseline after 6 weeks of treatment was seen in eight subjects, with coverage increasing toward the prestudy baseline in the responders following bupropion discontinuation (p
= .001). Average reduction in affected area in the responders at week 6 of treatment was approximately 50% in both groups.
The generally good tolerability and relative safety of bupropion-SR makes a trial of this agent worthwhile in patients with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis
who have failed treatment with more conventional medications. Normalization by bupropion of potentially causative neuroendocrine, immunologic, or catecholaminergic abnormalities in both of these dermatologic disorders is a possible mechanism of action for the observed salutary effects of this drug on our subjects’ skin disease.