Trial drug successfully treats severe forms of psoriasis

| Melissa Leavitt

About 60 percent of patients who took an experimental drug called brodalumab to treat their erythrodermic or generalized pustular psoriasis had completely clear skin after a year, according to the results of a study presented Sunday at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) meeting in San Francisco.

Results from another study of brodalumab presented at the AAD meeting showed that about half of the patients taking the drug for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis also experienced clear skin after a year. Both studies were conducted in Japan.

Brodalumab is a biologic developed by Amgen. It is currently being tested in Phase III clinical trials, according to ClinicalTrials.gov, and is not yet available via prescription.

In the Phase III study of erythrodermic and pustular psoriasis, patients received injections of either 140 milligram (mg) or 210 mg doses of the drug every two weeks for a year. Ten patients with pustular psoriasis, and 16 with erythrodermic psoriasis, completed the study.

After a year, patients with pustular psoriasis experienced, on average, 92.7 percent improvement in their disease, according to the results. Improvements were measured using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). About 90 percent of these patients saw at least 75 percent improvement, or PASI 75, while 60 percent got completely clear skin (PASI 100), researchers reported.

According to the study, erythrodermic psoriasis patients experienced similar levels of improvement. On average, these patients improved by 95.3 percent. More than 93 percent reached at least PASI 75, while more than 62 percent got completely clear, according to the results.

The study on plaque psoriasis involved 133 patients who had completed a Phase II trial for the drug, and stayed on the drug for an additional year. As with the other study, all patients received injections of 140 mg or 210 mg doses of the drug every two weeks for a year.

On average, patients experienced more than 90 percent improvement in their psoriasis after a year. About half of patients on each dose experienced completely clear skin, while more than 80 percent of patients reached PASI 90, according to the findings.

The most common side effect experienced by patients in these studies was the common cold. In the group with plaque psoriasis, three patients experienced infections that were related to brodalumab, researchers reported.

Brodalumab targets a cytokine, or pro-inflammatory protein, known as interleukin-17. Ixekizumab is also a biologic drug targeting IL-17 currently in development. Another drug targeting this cytokine, Cosentyx (secukinuamb), won United States Food and Drug Administration approval earlier this year.


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