There is a new cure for psoriasis

Psoriasis: Two new drugs approved in the EU

The European Commission has approved two new drugs against psoriasis: the monoclonal antibody secukinumab (Cosentyx® from Novartis) and the selective phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor apremilast (Otezla® from Celgene). Apremilast can also be used in psoriatic arthritis patients. According to Novartis, around half of all psoriasis patients are not satisfied with the treatment options available to date. Around 3.7 million people are affected in Europe, 2.4 million of them with a moderate to severe form.

According to Novartis, secukinumab is the only biological in the systemic first-line therapy of moderate to severe psoriasis. In several phase III studies, more than 70 percent of the treated patients achieved clear or almost clear skin within 16 weeks. The effect persisted for a year if the treatment was continued. In comparative studies, secukinumab was ustekinumab (Stelara®) and etanercept (Enbrel®) superior in effectiveness and showed a better safety profile.

The antibody neutralizes interleukin-17A, which is found in high concentrations on inflamed skin areas in psoriasis patients. An extension of approval for other diseases from the rheumatoid group such as psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis is planned.

Apremilast is the first orally available drug for psoriasis to be approved in the European Union in the past 20 years, according to Celgene. It is intended for adult patients who have not yet responded to other oral systemic therapies such as methotrexate or cyclosporine, who have not tolerated them or who have a contraindication. In addition, apremilast can be used alone or in combination with disease-modifying anti-inflammatory drugs (DMARDs) in adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis if DMARD therapy alone has not previously worked or has not been tolerated.

Even difficult-to-treat skin areas such as nails and scalp would respond well to therapy with the PDE4 inhibitor, according to Celgene. In the studies, the drug was generally well tolerated, so that no routine laboratory tests are required during therapy. The most common symptoms were diarrhea, nausea, upper respiratory tract infections and headaches, mostly mild. The side effects occurred mainly in the first two weeks of treatment and then subsided. (ie)

01/20/2015 l PZ

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