Conference Coverage

New psoriasis therapies coming of age



The pathogenesis theories and treatment approaches to psoriasis have evolved over the past 3 decades, and the latest treatments continue to show safety and effectiveness, according to Alan Menter, MD, chairman of dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas.

Dr. Alan Menter

Dr. Alan Menter

The disease is now seen as an IL-23/Th17–mediated condition, with multiple therapeutic approaches targeting IL-12/IL-23, IL-23, IL-17, and IL-17R, he noted.

These include risankizumab, which targets the p19 subunit of IL-23 and is being studied for treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. After one intravenous or subcutaneous dose of risankizumab in a phase 1 study, 16% of patients achieved a Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) 100, 58% achieved a PASI 90, and 87% achieved a PASI 75, and the publication of phase 2 results are pending, Dr. Menter said. The most common side effects included mild to moderate upper respiratory infections, mild nasopharyngitis, and mild to moderate headaches.

Psoriasis patients treated with guselkumab, which also targets the p19 subunit of IL-23 and was approved in July 2017 for patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy, were significantly more likely to be clear or almost clear at 16 weeks, compared with those on placebo in a phase 2 randomized, controlled trial.

“Both IL-23 and IL-17 are promising targets in the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,” said Dr. Menter. “It is important to be vigilant in following the safety profile of these drugs both in clinical trials and in postmarketing registries to ensure their long-term safety,” he added.

Additional research on how to curb side effects associated with these new and emerging therapies should target receptors downstream along the IL-23/Th17 pathway, Dr. Menter explained. Findings from a 2015 study suggest that deficiencies in cytokines and receptors further downstream in the IL-23/Th17 pathway “are associated with fewer disorders than deficiencies in upstream components of the pathway,” he said (J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Aug;135[8]:1946-53).

Although concerns about safety remain, avoiding biologics may have a negative impact as well, as moderate to severe psoriasis patients may experience deformed joints, decreased quality of life, heart attacks, strokes, and early death, Dr. Menter said.

Dr. Menter disclosed having received research support and/or serving as a consultant and/or lecturer for AbbVie, Allergan, Amgen, Anacor, Celgene, Dermira, Eli Lilly, Galderma, Janssen Biotech, LEO Pharma, Merck, Neothetics, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Stiefel, Symbio/Maruho, Vitae, and Xenoport.

The symposium was jointly presented by the University of Louisville and Global Academy for Medical Education. This publication and Global Academy for Medical Education are both owned by Frontline Medical News.

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