Psoriasis patients treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors may be at lower risk for heart attacks than their counterparts who are only treated with topical agents, a new study suggests. The findings appear online in the Archives of Dermatology.

Researchers led by Jashin J. Wu, MD, of the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, conducted a retrospective study that included patients with at least three ICD-9-CM codes for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis without antecedent myocardial infarction between January 2004 and November 2010.

Of the 8,845 patients included in the study, 57.4 percent were only treated with topical therapy, 18.9 percent received a TNF inhibitor for at least two consecutive months and 23.7 percent were treated with oral systemic agents or phototherapy.

According to the findings, patients in TNF inhibitor treatment group and the oral/phototherapy treatment group had a significantly lower risk of MI (50 percent and 46 percent, respectively) compared with patients in the topical treatment group. Differences in risk between the TNF inhibitor group and oral/phototherapy group did not reach statistical significance, the study showed.

“Future prospective studies are needed and warranted to determine whether the use of TNF inhibitors may reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with systemic inflammatory conditions,” the authors conclude.