Enbrel Approved to Treat Psoriasis

Tames inflamed skin lesions

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TUESDAY, May 4, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Amgen drug Enbrel (etanercept) to treat chronic, moderate-to-severe psoriasis in adults.

The drug is already approved for four other conditions, among them the rheumatoid and psoriatic forms of arthritis. Enbrel is a genetically engineered protein that binds to and prevents the harmful effects of another protein, TNF, which promotes inflammation in the body.

In the case of plaque psoriasis, the drug is designed to tame the inflamed, painful skin lesions caused by faulty immune system signals that cause skin cells to regenerate too quickly. In clinical trials involving more than 1,200 people over age 18, the drug "demonstrated rapid and significant clearing in many patients," Amgen said in a prepared statement.

The National Psoriasis Foundation applauded the drug's approval for this purpose, noting that about 5 million Americans have the degenerative disease, for which there is no known cure.

Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation to learn more about the disease.

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