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Adult Drug Effective in Treating Psoriasis in Children
Date:1/16/2008

Etanercept improved symptoms, quality of life for kids with moderate to severe disease,,,,

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The drug etanercept significantly improved psoriasis symptoms in children under 17 with moderate to severe psoriasis, researchers are reporting.

The study found that 57 percent of the children and teens enrolled in the study had at least a 75 percent improvement in their symptoms, and their quality of life also improved.

"Psoriasis is not just some benign skin disease but can be truly life-altering for patients," said the study's lead author, Dr. Amy Paller, chairwoman of dermatology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"In our study, etanercept positively impacted quality of life," added Paller, who's also a pediatric dermatologist at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes the skin to grow at an accelerated rate. Because the skin cells are growing faster than they can be shed, scaly patches develop on the skin. The disorder tends to run in families, and doctors suspect it's an autoimmune disease, in which the body is mistakenly sensing that healthy cells are foreign substances. Nearly one-third of those with psoriasis also have what's known as psoriatic arthritis, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Mild cases of the disorder may respond to over-the-counter and prescription creams and ointments. But, for people with moderate to severe disease, stronger medications -- such as immune suppressants -- are often needed.

Newer medications, such as etanercept (Enbrel) and infliximab (Remicade), have been approved for treating psoriasis in adults. These medications, called biologics, specifically target the immune response, rather than dampen the entire immune system.

None of these medications has yet been approved for the treatment of children, however. '/>"/>

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