From the Journals

Elderly patients with psoriasis can benefit from biologics with low rates of adverse events



Elderly patients with psoriasis respond just as well to biologic treatments as do younger patients, with a low rate of serious adverse events, according to a new retrospective study.

Among 266 older patients, 65% achieved a 75% improvement in Psoriasis Area Severity Index score (PASI 75) after 1 year of therapy; 50% reached a PASI 90, and 40% a PASI 100, Francesca Prignano MD, PhD, and her colleagues reported in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. The rate of serious adverse events was less than 10%.

Elderly patients – those aged 65 years and older – are commonly excluded from studies on biologic treatments because they have more medical comorbidities and are thought to be more at risk for serious adverse events, like infections and malignancy, wrote Dr. Prignano of the dermatology unit, University of Florence, Italy, and her colleagues.

As a result, they noted, there is a “lack of information concerning safety and effectiveness of available treatments for psoriasis in the elderly, particularly about new biologic agents. Disease remission should be an objective for both younger patients and older patients, and biologic therapy should be considered a treatment option for all patients.”

To examine both the benefit and risk of biologics in this population, the team reviewed the records of 266 elderly psoriasis patients; everyone had been on a biologic treatment for at least 1 year.

The primary outcome was PASI score at weeks 8, 16, 28, and 52. The secondary outcomes were the rate and types of biologic-associated adverse events.

The study comprised 266 patients (mean age 72 years). Their mean psoriasis duration was 25.7 years. Comorbidities included psoriatic arthritis; hypertension and dyslipidemia; diabetes mellitus; cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases; osteoporosis; thyroid dysfunction; depression; and cancer.

Adalimumab was the most commonly prescribed biologic (31%), followed by ustekinumab (28.9%), etanercept (20%), and secukinumab (15%). A smaller proportion of patients were taking infliximab, golimumab, or certolizumab pegol.

The mean baseline PASI was 16.5, although the range was wide (4-54). At the time of review, the average biologic treatment duration was 44 months. Almost half of the cohort (128) were on their second biologic, and 20 more had been on three biologics. A few patients were taking concomitant medications, including steroids, cyclosporine, and acitretin.

The mean PASI scores decreased to 3.7 at week 16, 1.6 at week 28, and 1.2 at week 52. The group exhibited a rapid response to biologic treatment. By 16 weeks, about 55% had achieved a PASI 75, about 28% a PASI 90, and about 20% a PASI 100. By 28 weeks, these numbers were about 64%, 45%, and 35%, respectively. At 1 year, they were about 65%, 50%, and 40%, respectively.

The rate of adverse events was 9.4%. There were 25 events in the cohort, the majority of which (48%) were infections; these included four respiratory infections, three urinary tract infections, two cases of mucocutaneous candidiasis, two cases of herpes zoster infection, and one case of erysipelas.

There were four malignancies: three nonmelanoma skin cancers and one vocal cord cancer.

Noting that, to date, their study represented “the broadest experience on the use of biological drugs” for elderly patients with psoriasis, they wrote that while “comorbidities should be taken into consideration when a long-term treatment is proposed, for the higher risk of side effects and drug interactions,” they wrote, noting that none of the 266 patients had a serious infection and the malignancy rate was low (1.5%).

None of the authors had financial disclosures, and the study had no funding source.

SOURCE: Ricceri F et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Jun 15. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15139.

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