Drug Shows Long-Term Efficacy for Psoriasis

Ustekinumab improves psoriasis area and severity

FRIDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis with ustekinumab leads to long-term improvement in psoriasis area and severity compared with placebo, according to a report in the May 17 issue of The Lancet.

Craig L. Leonardi, M.D., from Saint Louis University Medical School, and colleagues randomly assigned 766 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis to ustekinumab (45 mg or 90 mg) every 12 weeks after the initial two doses, or to placebo, with crossover to ustekinumab at week 12 after the initial two doses. Ustekinumab is a human monoclonal antibody against interleukins 12 and 23, which have been implicated in the pathophysiology of psoriasis, the authors note.

The researchers found that at week 12, psoriasis area and severity improved by at least 75 percent in significant numbers of patients in both ustekinumab groups compared with placebo (67.1 percent and 66.4 percent versus 3.1 percent), which was maintained in many patients to week 40. Of patients who achieved a long-term response and randomly assigned to maintenance ustekinumab or withdrawal, only patients receiving ustekinumab maintained their improvement to at least one year, the report indicates. The rate of adverse events was similar in the placebo and ustekinumab groups.

"Ustekinumab seems to be efficacious for the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis; dosing every 12 weeks maintains efficacy for at least a year in most patients," Leonardi and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded by Centocor Inc., and several authors disclosed financial ties to Centocor and other pharmaceutical companies.

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