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New therapy for psoriatic arthritis approved

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30 Jan 2018

A new drug developed by Eli Lilly to combat the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis (PsA) – including severe joint pain and swelling – has been approved for market by the European Commission.

Ixekizumab, or Taltz®, can be used to treat patients with PsA who have not responded to, or are intolerant to, traditional anti-rheumatic drug therapies, such as methotrexate, which act to treat the underlying cause of arthritis to slow disease progression, rather than the symptoms.

PsA is caused by a fault in a person’s immune system, when the body sends out signals for inflammation even when damage has not occurred., causing swollen, stiff, and painful joints. It is a chronic and progressive disease with no known cure.

The new drug is a monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to interleukin 17A (IL-17A) – a cytokine produced by immune cells that causes inflammation. Once bound, ixekizumab blocks IL-17A’s interaction with its associated receptor, therefore reducing inflammation – a symptom of PsA.

Clinical trials showed significant alleviation of symptoms in patients, who had a diagnosis of PsA for at least six months and at least three joints showing symptoms. Studies showed an improvement in psoriasis plaques after 12 weeks and a 75% improvement in symptoms measured by the Psoriasis Area Severity Index, including the severity of redness, and the volume and thickness of skin lesions.   

‘PsA affects up to 30% of people who are already living with psoriasis,’ severely impacting their ability to work and carry out daily activities, said Arash Tahbaz, Senior Medical Director for Eli Lilly in the UK and Northern Europe.

‘We are proud to be able to offer a new treatment option that addresses both the joint and skin symptoms of PsA,’ said Tahbaz.

By Georgina Hines

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