Retreatment with Psoriasis Drug Demonstrates Skin Clearing

A majority of patients experienced the same level of skin clearing as initial treatment with Cosentyx.

Novartis recently announced that patients with psoriasis treated with secukinumab (Cosentyx) were able to quickly achieve clear or almost clear skin after a relapse during a treatment pause.

The investigators also noted an absence of anti-secukinumab antibodies during the second treatment with the drug, which suggests its continual efficacy, according to a press release. The study results were presented at the 2017 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.

Although previous studies have indicated that continuous treatment with secukinumab is more beneficial than intermittent treatment, some patients have treatment pauses for various reasons, according to the release.

These new findings demonstrate that patients with psoriasis who experience relapse during treatment pause may still be able to achieve clear or almost clear skin after only 16 weeks of treatment with secukinumab.

Immunogenicity is a common problem among biologic psoriasis drugs, which lose efficacy over time due to the creation of antidrug antibodies, according to Novartis. However, secukinumab has demonstrated almost 0 immunogenicity, with only 0.4% of patients developing antibodies overall, and 0 developing antibodies during the retreatment study.

Included in the study were 320 patients who achieved skin clearance after 1 year of treatment with secukinumab, according to the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI), who then relapsed after treatment discontinuation.

Investigators found that after 16 weeks of retreatment, 94% of patients regained a PASI 75 score or 75% skin clearance. Approximately 79% of patients who previously achieved PASI 90 - 90% skin clearance — regained their initial score, while 67% of patients with a prior PASI 100 score – 100% skin clearance – regained theirs, according to the release.

Retreatment was not associated with any new safety concerns. Novartis reported that the safety profile of secukinumab was consistent with previous findings.

Secukinumab is a targeted IL-17A inhibitor that has previously shown the ability to clear or almost clear skin in up to 80% of patients. The drug is the only IL-17A inhibitor approved to treat psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, with more than 80,000 patients receiving treatment throughout the world.

Secukinumab has received regulatory approval in more than 75 countries to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, and is the first-line systemic treatment for the disease in Europe. In the United States, the drug is approved in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in patients who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy, according to the release.

"It is very clear that patients get the best results from continuous treatment," said Vas Narasimhan, global head, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis. "However, if for some reason treatment has been interrupted, this analysis gives patients and clinicians the peace of mind that Cosentyx is likely to help people quickly achieve clear skin once again."