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Long-Term Treatment for Psoriasis Shown Effective and Safe
Patients using the psoriasis medication etanercept saw continued improvement after using the drug for up to 96 weeks, according to a study published in the June issue of Archives of Dermatology. Study participants did not experience added infections or adverse side effects when using the drug for an extended period of time.
Stephen Tyring, M.D., Ph.D., clinical professor at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, was principal investigator for the two-year clinical study at 39 medical centers in the United States and Canada.
“This study represents, to our knowledge, the longest continuous exposure of patients with psoriasis to 50 milligrams of etanercept biweekly, and provides further insights into the safety and efficacy of high-dose etanercept for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis,” said Tyring.
Psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin disorder, usually requires long-term therapy. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 7.5 mil-lion Americans have psoriasis.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved etanercept for 12 weeks of continued use at the higher dosage. This phase 3, randomized, double-blind trial examined whether more than 12 weeks of use could be harmful to the patient, and whether they would see continued improvement.
The study involved more than 600 patients, some using etanercept and others taking a placebo. The participants were examined every 12 weeks to evaluate their progress. “Patients responded within two weeks to etanercept, with statistically significant differences between the etanercept group and placebo groups at week 12,” Tyring said.
Study participants hit their peak of improvement around the 48th week.
“We now know that continuing to take etanercept at the higher dose of 50mg twice weekly will help patients maintain the clearance of their psoriasis, without harmful side effects,” Tyring said.
Etanercept (Enbrel ®) is manufactured by Amgen and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
By Melissa McDonald, Institutional Advancement
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