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Sandeep Singh Dhillon
This new medication can cure moderate to severe psoriasis – MIMS Malaysia
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A new drug called ixekizumab succeeded in clearing psoriasis in about 80 percent of patients in three large, long-term clinical trials.

Shortly after the trials were completed, the Food and Drug Administration gave its approval for drug distribution, Science Daily reported.

Dr Kenneth Gordon, the paper’s first author and a professor of dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said the group of studies indicated very high and consistent levels of safety and efficacy. It also had a great majority of responses which persisted for at least 60 weeks, which was noteworthy.

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease that causes red, dry and itchy skin. It affects about 3 percent of the world’s population and is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, depression and heart disease.

Ixekizumab clears psoriasis by neutralising a pathway in the immune system known to promote the disease.

To test the drug’s efficacy over time and to determine whether its benefits outweigh the risks, three clinical trials enrolled 3,736 adult patients at more than 100 study sites in 21 countries. Researchers randomised patients to receive either injections of ixekizumab at various doses or a placebo over a period of more than a year.

All participants suffered from moderate to severe psoriasis, which is defined as covering 10 percent or more of the body, the report said.

The investigators found after 12 weeks that 76.4 to 81.8 percent of patients had their psoriasis classified as “clear” or “minimal” capered to just 3.2 percent of patients on the placebo group. By week 60, 68.7 to 78.3 percent of patients had maintained their improvement.

The new drug is associated with such adverse effects as slightly higher rates of neutropenia (low white blood cell count), yeast infection and inflammatory bowel disease.

“As with any treatment, the benefits need to be weighed against the risks of adverse events,” researchers noted, adding that the efficacy and safety of ixekizumab beyond 60 weeks of treatment are not yet known.

The findings were compiled in a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. MIMS

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