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Newer Drug More Effective in Psoriasis Treatment
Date:1/13/2010

and 70.6 percent of patients receiving the low and high dose of Stelara had little or no signs of psoriasis, compared with 49 percent of the patients receiving Enbrel, the team reported.

Moreover, among the patients who did not respond to Enbrel, 48.9 percent had at least a 75 percent improvement 12 weeks after switching to Stelara.

These results show that "the optimal approach to treating psoriasis may be via the targeting of the chemical messengers interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 as exemplified by ustekinumab as opposed to the chemical messenger tumor necrosis factor alpha targeted by etanercept," Griffiths said.

Dr. Paolo Romanelli, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, wasn't totally surprised by the results. "These findings are exciting and a little bit expected," he said.

Stelara was approved in October, so not many patients are receiving it yet, he noted. A main benefit of Stelara is the need for fewer injections, Romanelli said.

Romanelli advises patients receiving Enbrel to stay on the drug if they are doing well. For those who do not respond to Enbrel, there is "incredible hope to have a new medication that may help them," he added.

Patients who don't respond to Enbrel may respond to Stelara, the study found. The safety of the two biologics appeared similar, Griffiths said.

Common side effects included local reactions at the injection site, headache and back pain.

Before the creation of these biologics, psoriasis treatment focused on reducing inflammation with drugs such as methotrexate and cyclosporine.

Psoriasis is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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