The Psoriasis Treatment Revolution – Stelara® (Ustekinumab) and BrodalumabCraig Kraffert, MD
Over the past twenty years, psoriasis treatment has undergone a revolution rivaling that of cell phone technology. The most interesting component of this revolution is that the best new medications are not only more effective than anything previously available, they are also incredibly safe.
Biologic Therapies for Psoriasis
The most promising upcoming psoriasis treatments are from a class of therapeutic agents called ‘biologics.’ Biologic medicines are bio-engineered injectable proteins that are most often ‘humanized’ antibodies. These molecules are designed to function seamlessly within the body by discretely targeting specific biologic disease pathways. The molecules last a few weeks within the body while performing their functions and then are broken down naturally over time.
Stelara® for Psoriatic Arthritis
The most recently approved biologic treatment, ustekinumab, known as Stelara®, combines the greatest safety and effectiveness of any psoriasis treatment to date. Data based on more than five years of studying thousands of patients indicates no evidence of an increase in serious infections, cancers or heart disease. On the contrary, Stelara® may actually be protective to the cardiovascular system.
Stelara® also works well for psoriatic arthritis, a common condition in which psoriasis affects the joints. With Stelara®, 95 percent of patients see at least a 50 percent reduction in psoriasis within 6 months and around half clear virtually completely – even when the medication is used without other creams, pills or light treatments.
Another benefit of Stelara® treatment is that the medication only needs to be administered every 12 weeks. For those who have struggled with the condition for years, Stelara® lifts the burden of psoriasis a great degree and makes it easier to live a new life.
Brodalumab from Amgen
While Stelara® is, today, the overall best medication for psoriasis, this may not always be the case. Currently, brodalumab, a promising biologic from Amgen, is in its final stages of FDA studies. Encouraging data from limited early studies suggest brodalumab may be more effective than Stelara®. The brodalumab Phase 3 FDA study design looks at brodalumab not just compared to placebo, but also compared to Stelara®.
Psoriasis can be a devastating disorder. Thankfully, modern medicine has developed truly miraculous treatments over the past twenty years. Even better, the wheels of innovation and market competition continue to turn, bringing the promise of more and better options for psoriasis sufferers.