MADRID – Serlopitant, an investigational once-daily oral neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist, resulted in clinically meaningful improvement in psoriatic itch in a phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial, David M. Pariser, MD, reported at the annual congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
The drug is not an effective stand alone treatment for psoriasis, though.
“The psoriasis itself did not improve during the trial. It’s the itch that improved. This drug is not designed for psoriasis; it’s going to be used for itching. If this does materialize as a treatment for psoriasis, it would be as an adjunct,” according to, a dermatologist at the Eastern Virginia School of Medicine, Norfolk.
Still, serlopitant addresses an unmet need for better treatment options for psoriatic itch. Up to 90% of psoriasis patients report experiencing pruritus, regardless of their disease severity.
“Although patients consider pruritus one of the most important, severe, and troublesome symptoms of psoriasis, clinicians have not historically recognized itch as a significant symptom, and treatments for psoriasis often don’t alleviate the associated pruritus,” he said.
Serlopitant has already shown efficacy and good tolerability in phase 2 studies in patients with prurigo nodularis and chronic pruritus.
The 8-week psoriatic itch trial included 204 adults with plaque psoriasis randomized to 5 mg of serlopitant once daily or placebo. Patients averaged 4.3% involved body surface area, and nearly two-thirds of them had moderate psoriasis by physician global assessment. The majority of patients rated their itch as severe; The average baseline score on the 0-10 Worst Itch Numeric Rating Scale was 8.2.
The primary study endpoint was achievement of at least a 4-point improvement on the. This was achieved in 33.9% of the serlopitant group and 21.1% of placebo-treated controls. The therapeutic benefit was consistent regardless of baseline body weight, gender, age, or extent of psoriasis-involved body surface area.
The safety data were consistent with what was seen in prior phase 2 studies for other dermatologic disorders. There were no serious adverse events, and the type and frequency of adverse events deemed related to treatment was similar in the two study arms.
“These results support the ongoing development of serlopitant across the spectrum of psoriatic disease,” Dr. Pariser declared.
The study was funded by Menlo Therapeutics. Dr. Pariser reported receiving research funding from and/or serving as a consultant to or advisory board member for roughly two dozen pharmaceutical companies.