A new psoriasis drug that’s already showed promising results as a whole-body treatment in clinical trials can help clear hard-to-treat areas, too.
According to a Japanese study, certain doses of brodalumab can be an effective therapy for nail and scalp psoriasis. The study, which was presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology meeting in October 2014, involved 145 Japanese patients. Among this group, 137 had scalp psoriasis, and 89 had nail psoriasis.
Brodalumab, which is being developed by Amgen, targets interleukin-17 (IL-17), a cytokine, or protein, involved in the inflammatory process of psoriasis.
In the Japanese study, patients were randomly assigned to take one of three doses of brodalumab, or a placebo.
Three months of treatment with the two highest doses of brodalumab resulted in dramatic clearing of the scalp. These doses also improved nail psoriasis, but did not deliver the same degree of clearance.
Patients with nail psoriasis taking the highest dose of the drug, 210 milligrams (mg), experienced an average of 47.3 percent improvement. Patients taking the next-highest dose, 140 mg, experienced an average of 44.9 percent improvement. Patients taking the placebo experienced an average of 9.6 percent improvement.
Nail improvement was evaluated using the Nail Psoriasis Severity Index (NAPSI), which measures symptoms such as nail pitting and discoloration.
Brodalumab delivered stronger improvement for scalp psoriasis. Using the Psoriasis Scalp Severity Index (PSSI), which measures symptoms such as redness and peeling, patients on the 210 mg dose improved an average of 94.5 percent, while patients on the 140 mg dose improved an average of 73.8 percent, according to the data. Patients taking the placebo improved by 12.6 percent.
At the European meeting, Amgen also presented data at the European meeting from a long-term trial that showed that more than half of the patients in the trial had completely clear skin after more than two-and-a-half years of treatment.
Brodalumab also has had encouraging results as a treatment for psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Almost two-thirds of PsA patients enrolled in a Phase II trial of trial of the drug experienced a 20 percent improvement in their symptoms.
A Phase III trial testing brodalumab as a psoriasis treatment is ongoing, and a Phase III trial for psoriatic arthritis is currently recruiting.
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