Cosentyx tackles psoriasis of nails, hands and feet

| Melissa Leavitt

People with hard-to-treat forms of psoriasis can experience significant improvement on a new biologic drug. According to data presented in June at the World Congress of Dermatology meeting, Cosentyx (secukinumab) delivered clearer skin to patients with psoriasis on the nails, palms and soles. 

Cosentyx was approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for psoriasis earlier this year. It is an injectable drug that targets a cytokine, or pro-inflammatory protein, known as interleukin 17A (IL-17A). Another drug targeting IL-17A, ixekizumab, is currently being developed by Eli Lilly.

The data comes from two separate placebo-controlled clinical trials. One study, called GESTURE, is a Phase III trial for palmoplantar psoriasis, which affects the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The other study, called TRANSFIGURE, is a Phase III trial for nail psoriasis.

After four months of treatment with Cosentyx, a third of patients with palmoplantar psoriasis experienced clear or almost clear skin on the palms and soles, according to the findings. The findings were issued in a statement by Novartis, the company that makes Cosentyx. About 1 percent of patients with palmoplantar psoriasis assigned to take a placebo experienced clear or almost clear skin in the same amount of time, the statement reported.

Patients with nail psoriasis taking Cosentyx experienced more than 45 percent improvement in four months, according to the same statement, compared to about 10 percent improvement experienced by patients on a placebo.

Patients in both studies began to see improvement after about three weeks, according to Dr. George Vratsanos, Executive Global Program Head for Cosentyx.

The most common side effects experienced by patients in the trials were upper respiratory tract infections, the common cold and headaches, Vratsanos said. 

Up to 5.9 percent of patients taking Cosentyx in the palmoplantar psoriasis study, and up to 3 percent of patients on Cosentyx in the nail psoriasis study, experienced serious side effects, according to the data. “The safety profile looked very good, very favorable, and we believe the benefits of treatment clearly outweigh the risks,” Vratsanos said. 

The studies will continue for at least two years, Vratsanos said.

“Both the nails and the palms and soles are very, very difficult to treat,” Vratsanos said. “It’s very exciting to see a dramatic benefit in these patients who clearly have had longstanding disease.”

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