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Alefacept Safe and Effective to Treat Scalp Psoriasis

Useful alternative to steroids for long-term treatment in some patients

WEDNESDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Scalp psoriasis can be safely and effectively treated with alefacept, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

James Krell, M.D., of Total Skin and Beauty Dermatology Center in Birmingham, Ala., and colleagues conducted a study of 30 patients with psoriatic plaques on at least 30 percent of the scalp area. The patients were treated with a weekly 15-mg intramuscular dose of alefacept for 16 weeks, followed by 12 weeks' rest. Those whose psoriasis had completely or almost completely cleared six weeks later were given no further treatment, while the rest were given a second course for another 12 weeks and re-assessed six weeks after completion.

Five patients (16.7 percent) had clear or almost clear status six weeks after completion of the first course, the researchers report. In total, eight (26.7 percent) patients were successfully treated six weeks after completion of both courses, and three were clear for at least six months after one round of treatment. There were no serious adverse events associated with the treatment, and mild side effects were observed in only one patient, the report indicates.

"These results demonstrate that alefacept is effective in a subset of patients with scalp psoriasis, is well-tolerated, and is a good treatment option for patients with widespread scalp psoriasis," the authors write.

The trial was funded by Biogen Idec and Astellas Pharma.

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