Ixekizumab Shows Significant Improvements in Psoriasis Treatment

Ixekizumab fully or partially cleared moderate-to-severe psoriasis in 80% of patients.

A new drug to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis revealed that 80% of patients achieved complete or almost complete clearing of their disease.

The results from 3 large, long-term clinical trials of the investigational drug ixekizumab were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This group of studies not only shows very high and consistent levels of safety and efficacy, but also that the great majority of the responses persist at least 60 weeks,” said first study author Kenneth Gordon.

Psoriasis affects about 3% of the population worldwide and can lead to psoriatic arthritis. Ixekizumab works by neutralizing a pathway in the immune system known to promote psoriasis.

In total, the 3 studies enrolled 3736 adult patients into more than 100 sites in 21 countries. All patients had moderate-to-severe-psoriasis, defined as covering 10% or more of the body.

Participants were randomized to receive injections of different doses of ixekizumab or a placebo, lasting more than a year. Investigators examined adverse events to evaluate drug safety and the severity of psoriasis symptoms.

The results showed that 76.4% to 81.8% of patients were classified as having their psoriasis cleared or minimal at 12 weeks, compared with 3.2% of patients who received placebo. At 60 weeks, 68.7% to 78.3% of patients taking ixekizumab maintained the original improvements in their disease.

“Based on these findings, we expect that 80% of patients will have an extremely high response rate to ixekizumab, and about 40% will be completely cleared of psoriasis,” Gordon said. “Ten years ago, we thought complete clearance of this disease was impossible. It wasn't something we would even try to do. Now with this drug, we're obtaining response levels higher than ever seen before.”

Common ixekizumab-induced adverse events included slightly higher rates of neutropenia, inflammatory bowel disease, and yeast infection compared with placebo. Since the 3 trials were completed, ixekizumab has been approved by the FDA; however, safety for a treatment duration lasting longer than 60 weeks needs to be monitored in the future.