Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Psoriasis Health Center

Font Size

New Psoriasis Treatments Work

Raptiva, Arthritis Drug Enbrel Effective and Safe
WebMD Health News

Nov. 19, 2003 -- Not so long ago, psoriasis sufferers had few options. Now three already-available drugs offer relief from the agonizing skin disease.

The new drugs are Enbrel, Raptiva, and Amevive. All are "biological" drugs -- they use recent scientific breakthroughs to target specific body functions.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease; the new drugs block harmful immune responses. Amevive and Raptiva were approved earlier this year as psoriasis treatments. Enbrel was approved in 1998 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Enbrel's manufacturer, Wyeth, a WebMD sponsor, has filed for formal approval as a psoriasis treatment.

Separate clinical studies of psoriasis patients treated with Enbrel and Raptiva appear in the Nov. 20 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. So does an editorial by Thomas S. Kupper, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

"At this point, there are insufficient data to support claims that one of these agents is superior to another," Kupper writes. "There may be groups of people who have a better response to one or the other of these agents."

All of these drugs likely must be taken for long periods of time -- perhaps for life. Because they interfere with the immune system, there is a danger that they will raise patients' risk of infections and maybe even cancer. It's not clear how the drugs will work over years and years of treatment. But in the short term, all have remarkable safety records. That's particularly true for Enbrel, which has been used in more than 150,000 patients -- including long-term safety studies in 2,000 patients.

Today on WebMD

Woman sitting in front of UV lights
About 7.5 million people in the U.S. Get the facts.
stress and psoriasis
What might spark your psoriasis today?
woman bathing
Slideshow: Home Remedies For Psoriasis
woman applying lotion
It starts in the immune system. Read on.
Top Psoriasis Treatments To Try At Home
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Beware Miracle Diets For Psoriasis
Psoriasis Laser Therapy
10 Questions About Psoriasis To Ask Your Doctor
psoriasis on elbow
Psoriasis (Moderate to Severe)
Psoriatic Arthritis Do You Know The Symptoms