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FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Plaque Psoriasis

Cosentyx hinders protein that spurs skin inflammation

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Cosentyx (secukinumab) to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Cosentyx's active ingredient is a human antibody that inhibits interleukin-17A. The drug, administered subcutaneously, is intended for patients who are candidates for systemic therapy, phototherapy, or a combination of both. Its safety and effectiveness were evaluated in clinical studies involving 2,403 people with plaque psoriasis. The drug was found to clear psoriasis plaques from skin significantly better than a placebo, the FDA said.

Since the drug affects the immune system, users may be at greater risk of infection. Serious allergic reactions to Cosentyx also are possible, the FDA warned. The drug's most common side effects are diarrhea and upper respiratory infection.

"Plaque psoriasis can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients," Amy Egan, M.D., M.P.H., deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

Cosentyx is marketed by Novartis, based in East Hanover, N.J.

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