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Injectable Psoriasis Drugs May Not Hike Heart Risks: Study
Date:8/23/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- An extensive review of research investigating injectable drugs to treat psoriasis -- an autoimmune disorder triggering itchy, red skin patches -- indicates the medications are not linked to higher heart risks.

But, the study authors said a lack of complete information from drug makers impeded their ability to assess potential dangers noted in earlier research.

With the additional information, "it would have been a much more robust statistical analysis," said study author Dr. Caitriona Ryan, a dermatology resident at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas. "We could have adjusted for all the risk factors."

Researchers evaluated 22 randomized, controlled experiments involving more than 10,000 patients to determine if the rates of major adverse cardiovascular events -- including heart attack, stroke or cardiac death -- were affected by use of two types of so-called biologic psoriasis drugs. These drugs are injected systemically in some patients with moderate or advanced disease.

Some preliminary reports suggested an "excess" number of cardiovascular events linked to one drug type, IL-12/23 antibodies known by the brand names Stelara and Ozespa, and a small number of such events from the anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) drugs Humira, Enbrel and Remicade. However, this study found no such link.

Ryan said the jury is ultimately still out on the cardiac safety of the biologic medications because drug manufacturers, who sponsored prior research, wouldn't release patient-level data associated with the medications, including patient demographics and prior known cardiac risk factors.

The short length of most randomized trials also discouraged an analysis of long-term side effects or other problems stemming from the drugs, she said.

The study is published in the Aug. 24/31 issue of the Journal of the Am
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