FDA approves Taltz for psoriatic arthritis

| Joe Doolen

Adults suffering from active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have a new injectable biologic treatment option. On Dec. 1, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Taltz (ixekizumab) for PsA treatment.

Up to 30 percent of individuals living with psoriasis may develop PsA, which can cause swelling, stiffness and pain in and around the joints. PsA can also affect the nails and overall energy levels. Research has found that delaying treatment for PsA for as little as six months can result in permanent joint damage. As a result, it is critical that individuals living with PsA have access to therapies to manage their disease.

"There is no good way of predicting how each patient will react to any particular drug, so having multiple options for treatment is crucial for a disease suffered by so many," said Joseph Merola, M.D., MMSc of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The FDA approved Taltz for treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in 2016, and the drug has been found to improve the quality of life for individuals with psoriasis.

Results from a Phase 3 clinical trial, which included adults with active PsA, showed that Taltz improves disease symptoms and physical function. At 24 weeks, about three in five individuals achieved American College of Rheumatology 20 (ACR20) response, meaning they saw 20 percent improvement in tender or swollen joint counts as well as 20 percent improvement in at least three of the other five criteria. A self-assessment, physician assessment, pain scale, functionality questionnaire and blood test were the additional parameters used to evaluate patients. Some people in the clinical trial experienced significant improvement. Four out of 10 improved 50 percent (ACR50) while nearly one in four improved as much as 70 percent (ACR70).

The active ingredient in Taltz is an antibody that recognizes and binds to the protein interleukin-17A, inhibiting the inflammatory response that plays a role in the development of PsA. 

Taltz, manufactured by Eli Lilly, is administered by injection into the skin. PsA treatment dosage calls for two initial injections followed by an additional injection every four weeks. Each 1 mL injection contains 80 mg of the drug and is available in a pre-filled syringe or an auto-injector. You may self-inject into the upper arm, thigh or abdomen after supervised training by a provider. Each subsequent injection requires a different location than the previous one.

Over the years, NPF has funded more than $17 million in research into psoriatic disease, helping to lay the groundwork for new therapies. NPF also connects patients with clinical trials so that more treatment options may be tested and ultimately approved.  

NPF knows that treating psoriatic disease can be challenging. If you would like to learn more about treatment options including Taltz, contact our Patient Navigators. Our specially trained team of Patient Navigators offer free resources to individuals living with psoriatic disease, their caregivers and health care providers. 


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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