Three years ago, 40-year-old Tom Morris' psoriasis was worse than it had ever been, with patches or red, scaly skin covering his entire body with the exception of his face and neck. Today, the Silver Spring, Md., resident says his skin is clearer than it has been in the two decades that he has had psoriasis, after almost four months on the biologic Raptiva.
Morris tells WebMD that taking a biologic has made all the difference for him.
"This has been the only real effective medication I have taken," he says. "Now, except for one little spot on my leg, I look like I have never had psoriasis. I wear shorts wherever I want, I jump in a pool when I want, and I don't worry about people staring at the spots on my skin. It has been fantastic."
The newly updated data on Humira, from a trial sponsored by manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, was presented last week in New York City at the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Patients who had received 40 mg injections of the drug every two weeks for three months continued on the treatment for a total of six months. Others who had been started on a placebo injection were switched to the active drug.
Researchers reported that 64% of patients who got the twice-monthly injections achieved at least a 75% improvement in disease severity at six months. Significant improvements in quality of life were also recorded, with 40% of patients on the treatment reporting that their quality of life was "not at all" affected by their skin condition.
National Psoriasis Foundation spokesman Michael Paranzino tells WebMD that as effective as the biologics are, they will not replace traditional therapies for all patients.
"The biologics hold the promise of potentially fewer side effects, but the exciting thing is that we now have many more treatment options than we have had in the past," he says. "There is no one drug that is clearly superior and will work for everyone, but the good news is that most patients can be helped with treatment."