People suffering from psoriasis, a long-lasting and baffling autoimmune skin disease, try one drug to another just to ease the symptoms of this chronic condition. A new drug that has reached stage 3 of its clinical trials shows promise as an effective treatment for patients with plaque psoriasis.
Ixekizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, showed effectiveness in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis whose symptoms did not improve even after treatment with etanercept. One of the three trials, dubbed UNCOVER-2, was presented during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. The other two trials were called UNCOVER and UNCOVER-3.
"Despite the availability of existing treatment options, there are many patients living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who have not responded to previous treatments and are still looking for an alternative," said Dr. Kim Papp, lead author of the study.
"In this study, ixekizumab demonstrated high levels of clearance for all patients. We saw high levels of improvement in biologic-experienced patients, and we saw high levels of improvement in those who have not been treated with a biologic," he added.
In trial UNCOVER-2, 64 percent of patients treated with etanercept still suffer from discomfort brought about by psoriasis even after three months of treatment. Etanercept is an injectable drug that is used for treating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis.
The participants whose psoriasis symptoms were not relieved on the initial treatment were given placebo at their 3rd month, and then were given ixekizumab every month from the 16th week onwards until the 60th week.
In all three studies, patients who underwent ixekizumab treatment reported improved work productivity compared to patients treated with placebo.
About 78 to 90 percent of the patients taking ixekizumab experienced at least 75 percent improvement in their plaque psoriasis after 12 weeks. The improvement was measured by the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI 75). About 31 to 41 percent of these patients achieved a score of PASI 100 after 12 weeks. This score indicates that the skin has cleared of plaques and redness.
Three separate clinical trials involved 3,866 patients tested the effectiveness of the drug. These were done in 21 countries including Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and South America.