A new drug called Ixekizumab has passed its clinical trials for treatment of psoriasis. Recent phase III clinical trials were concluded which showed the drug to be more effective than placebo or the autoimmune drug Etanercept at targeting moderate to severe autoimmune-related psoriasis symptoms over a 12 week period. Approximately 80% of patients had a positive therapeutic outcome.
According to Dr. Kenneth Gordon, dermatology professor at Northwestern University & lead author of the paper, the majority of patients continued to experience positive outcomes after treatment for over 60 weeks.
About 3% of the population in the world suffer from severe forms of psoriasis, which is an autoimmune related disease that triggers inflammation of skin, leading to drying, itching and visible symptoms such as redness. It’s also been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, weight gain and depression.
The drug works by inhibiting a pathway within the immune system that causes psoriasis.
In order to test the drugs benefits versus its side effects, a total of 3,736 patients were enrolled at some 100 study sites in over 20 countries. All the study participants had a form of psoriasis that ranged from moderate to severe; ie: psoriasis that covered at least 10% of the body.
By 12 weeks, around 80% of patients experienced a notable clearing up of their symptoms, compared to just 3% of patients who were taking the placebo.
Gordon says that the research team expects some 80% of future patients will have a very favorable response to being treated with Ixekizumab, with as many as 40% being completely cleared of all symptoms.
Side effects included higher rates of neutropenia (a low white blood cell count), yeast infections and in some cases a slight increase in the risk of contracting inflammatory bowel disease. Further safety studies will need to be conducted to assess the safety of longer-term treatment than 60-weeks.
It should be noted that the research has been funded by Eli Lilly. Whether this is another drug by big pharmacy that later on goes to cause side effects that weren’t found within the original trials, or whether it becomes a wonder-drug for psoriasis sufferers with little side effects, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the drug is now FDA approved, and available for psoarisis-sufferers.
Study Source: The New England Journal Of Medicine