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Etanercept Improves Fatigue, Depression from Psoriasis

Drug more than doubles improvement in fatigue after 12 weeks

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The TNF-alpha-inhibiting drug etanercept may help relieve fatigue and depression in psoriasis patients, in addition to improving symptoms of the skin condition itself, according to a report in the Dec. 15 issue of The Lancet.

Depression and fatigue are common in psoriasis patients and are thought to be due in part to increased levels of TNF-alpha. To see if TNF-alpha inhibition could relieve these symptoms, Ranga Krishnan, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues randomized 618 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, average age 45 years, to either placebo or 50 mg etanercept twice a week for 12 weeks.

The researchers found 47% of patients taking etanercept experienced a 75% or greater improvement in psoriasis area and severity index score compared with 5% for placebo. The average functional assessment of chronic illness therapy fatigue (FACIT-F) scale improvement was 5.0 for etanercept versus 1.9 for placebo. Similar improvements were found for depression scores.

"A broader conceptualization of depression in the context of psoriasis will permit consideration of the usefulness of pharmacological and biopsychosocial approaches in the management of this complex condition," the authors write.

The study was funded by Immunex, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen, and by Wyeth Research.

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