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UT Houston Research Shows Etanercept Effective for Children with Psoriasis
Etanercept (Enbrel) can safely and quickly reduce the symptoms of psoriasis in children, according to the director of pediatric dermatology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Until now, no research was available to prove that Etanercept, a drug that is approved for use in adults with psoriasis and for children with rheumatoid arthritis, was safe and effective in treating children with psoriasis.
Published in the January issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a one-year study tracked 211 participants, some of whom were treated at The University of Texas Dermatology Clinical Research Center. Among children ages 4-17 who were treated with the drug for 12 weeks, 57 percent showed at least a 75 percent improvement in disease severity scores compared with only 11 percent of those receiving a placebo.
Psoriasis affects the skin and joints. It commonly causes red, scaly patches on the skin. The scaly patches are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. The disorder is a chronic recurring condition and can vary in severity from minor localized patches to complete body coverage.
"This therapeutic breakthrough will potentially allow dermatologists to manage psoriasis in pediatric patients more effectively in the near future. Affected children will not feel embarrassed when they participate in gym at school or when they are invited to swimming parties. This medication treats more than just the skin condition, as it impacts the entire psychosocial well-being of these children," said study co-author Adelaide Hebert, M.D, professor and director of pediatric dermatology at the UT Medical School at Houston.
No serious adverse effects were reported in the study. There is no FDA-approved drug available to treat children with this disease. Amgen, Inc., which markets the drug, is currently seeking FDA approval. If the approval is granted, long-term efficacy and safety would still need to be established in a controlled study, Hebert said.
The study was supported by Amgen's Immunex subsidiary and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
By Melissa McDonald, Institutional Advancement
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