Psoriasis affects 7.5 million Americans, with 18-42% of these people later developing psoriatic arthritis. This month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment option for this difficult condition. Ixekizumab (Taltz) from Eli Lilly and Company is now approved as an injection for the treatment of adults with active psoriatic arthritis.
Taltz first gained approval in March 2016 for another, and more common, form of psoriasis: that is, moderate-to-severe cases of plaque psoriasis, in which thick, red areas on the skin become flaky with silver-white scales. Taltz works by quelling the inflammation underlying this disease. An antibody in Taltz binds with the protein interleukin-17A which otherwise would contribute to inflammation in the skin. The FDA approval came after several clinical trials showed significant benefits from Taltz. Follow-up research demonstrates that Taltz remains effective in controlling the disease over an extended period of use.
Following the success of Taltz seen in plaque psoriasis, those with psoriatic arthritis will also be able to benefit from this medication. The research underlying Taltz’s newest FDA approval shows that Taltz significantly improves joint symptoms in those not previously treated with a biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug, as well as in those with an inadequate response to 1 or 2 TNF inhibitors or who were intolerant to TNF inhibitors.
Taltz can be used alone or combined with other medications for psoriatic arthritis, such as methotrexate. Adding another medication option to the arsenal of psoriasis medications is welcome news. Although these medications can present challenges in terms of cost for patients. BioPlus has a department ready to work with patients and their prescribers, to aid in the navigation of financial patient assistance, for psoriatic arthritis as well as other chronic and complex health conditions.
Payesko J. Taltz gets FDA approval for psoriatic arthritis. Sp Pharm Times December 5, 2017.
Gordon KB, Blauvelt A, Papp KA, et al. Phase 3 trials of ixekizumab in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. N Engl J Med 2016;375:345-56.