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Psoriasis Health Center

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Advances in Psoriasis Treatment

Types of Biologic Drugs for Psoriasis

One type, called anti-TNF drugs, was made to treat rheumatoid arthritis. But researchers discovered that TNF, a protein, also plays a role in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Anti-TNF drugs that are approved for both of those conditions include:

  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)

Golimumab (Simponi) is approved only for psoriatic arthritis, a long-term condition that comes along with psoriasis and causes painful, swollen joints. Certolizumab (Cimzia) is also approved for psoriatic arthritis, along with other inflammatory diseases.

As researchers learned more about psoriasis, they made biologics specifically for the disease.  

Secukinumab (Cosentyx) and ustekinumab (Stelara) target proteins that researchers believe cause the inflammation linked to the skin condition.

The more targeted the treatment, the greater the chance it will work and with fewer side effects, Heffernan says.

Another medication used in treating both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is apremilast (Otezla). It isn’t a biologic, but it does helps your immune system fight inflammation.

More Psoriasis Medications on the Way

There's been a lot of progress, but scientists are working on many more drugs, too. At least 10 new medicines are being tested by researchers with large groups of people to see if they're safe and effective:

  • Brodalumab and ixekizumab areinjectable anti-inflammatory drugs for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
  • Secukinumab has been FDA-approved for psoriasis but not yet for psoriatic arthritis. 
  • Tildrakizumab is an injectable anti-inflammatory for psoriasis.
  • Abatacept is an injectable drug for psoriasis that turns down the immune system.
  • CF101 and FP187 are anti-inflammatory drugs taken by mouth for psoriasis.
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz) is an anti-inflammatory taken by mouth for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
  • LAS41008, LEO 90100, and M518101 are topical treatments.
  • Calcipotriene foam (Dovonex, Sorilux) is a topical vitamin D drug for children ages 2-11.

People with psoriasis now have many treatment options. But the only way to know which ones will work best for you -- and which will cause side effects -- is to try them.

What's on the horizon, treatment-wise? With genetic studies, researchers say they hope to predict which medication will work best in your body. This kind of tailored approach would be a huge advance.

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Reviewed on November 15, 2015

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