Psoriasis-clearing drug gets FDA approval

| Melissa Leavitt

A new psoriasis drug that’s delivered dramatic skin improvement has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Cosentyx (secukinumab), an injectable biologic drug manufactured by Novartis, has won approval for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis. In clinical trials, more than half of patients taking Cosentyx experienced clear or almost clear skin, while the majority experienced significant improvement.

In one trial, more than a quarter of patients achieved a 100 percent improvement in their skin, as measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index. This measurement, also known as PASI 100, means that the patient had no psoriasis anywhere on their body. Almost 82 percent of patients in the same trial achieved 75 percent improvement, or PASI 75.

Other data on the drug indicate that the level of improvement delivered by Cosentyx can be long-lasting.

Results from another Phase III trial suggest that Cosentyx is also an effective treatment for psoriatic arthritis. Novartis plans to apply for FDA approval for Cosentyx as a psoriatic arthritis drug later this year.

Cosentyx targets interleukin-17A (IL-17A), which is a protein, or cytokine, that triggers inflammation. IL-17 is a key cytokine in psoriasis, and, according to the researchers, may even be a “master cytokine,” responsible for a series of inflammatory reactions.

Two other drugs targeting IL-17, brodalumab and ixekizumab, are also being developed as treatments for psoriasis.


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