Trial drug clears skin and improves psoriatic arthritis symptoms 

| Melissa Leavitt

A new drug in development improved psoriatic arthritis symptoms in two clinical trials, according to an announcement released by the drug’s manufacturer.

Secukinumab delivered strong improvements in both joint and skin disease in the two trials, called FUTURE 1 and FUTURE 2, the statement reports. The randomized, placebo-controlled Phase III trials tested whether patients taking the drug achieved a 20 percent improvement in psoriatic arthritis symptoms as measured by criteria set by the American College of Rheumatology. These criteria measure tender and swollen joints, physical function and pain, among other factors.

According to Novartis, the drug’s manufacturer, this goal, known as ACR20, was met in the trials. Patients on the drug also experienced significant skin clearing, achieving a 90 percent improvement in their psoriasis (known as PASI 90 after the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index), the statement notes.

Detailed results will be released in full at a future scientific meeting, according to the statement.

In previous trials testing the drug as a treatment for psoriasis, secukinumab resulted in clear or almost clear skin for more than half of patients. Novartis has submitted the drug as a psoriasis treatment to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and expects to receive approval later this year or early next year, according to the release. Novartis also plans to submit secukinumab for approval as a psoriatic arthritis treatment next year.

Secukinumab was “well-tolerated” by patients, according to the statement, with side effects similar to those experienced by patients in the psoriasis trials. Common side effects from those trials included headache, upper respiratory tract infection, cold and diarrhea, as noted in a New England Journal of Medicine study published in July.

Secukinumab targets interleukin (IL) 17-A, which is a protein, or cytokine, involved in the inflammation of psoriatic disease. Two other drugs targeting IL-17, brodalumab, manufactured by Amgen, and ixekizumab, manufactured by Eli Lilly, are currently in development. Trial results testing brodalumab for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis were released earlier this year. Results testing ixekizumab for psoriasis were released last month.


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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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