If you have a chronic disease, it’s comforting to know that the drug you’re taking now will continue to be just as safe and effective as when you take it for the next five years. People with plaque psoriasis, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, might take biologics to control the inflammation. These drugs dampen the immune system but could increase the patient’s risk of infection. Would the drug remain safe and effective after someone takes it for five years?
According to new study results presented at the World Congress of Dermatology in Italy, Eli Lilly & Company’s psoriasis drug, Taltz, passed the long-term safety and efficacy tests with flying colors.
Patients who responded to one year’s worth of monoclonal antibody treatment were enrolled in the extension period of the study, which continued for an extra four years. Based on standard measures of psoriasis severity, nearly half of the patients had completely clear skin by the five-year checkpoint. Taltz was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016.
“These results reaffirm that the high levels of skin clearance Taltz can provide early in treatment may be sustained over a long period of time,” said Dr. Rhonda Pacheco, global brand development leader for immunology at Lilly.
But Lilly might be late in the game when it comes to long-term psoriasis drug data. Competitor biopharma company AbbVie has been releasing 10-year safety and efficacy data of its psoriasis drug Humira (adalimumab) in a study that began in 2008. Two years ago, Novartis showcased five-year Phase III data for Cosentyx (secukinumab), which has the same target (interleukin-17A) as Taltz.
The competition heats up when companies compare biologics with one another. Janssen’s Tremfya (guselkumab) outperformed Cosentyx in improving Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores, according to Phase III data. How will Tremfya stand up to Taltz? Lilly is directly comparing the two and plans on releasing data from IXORA-R later this year.
As scientists await these results, the Indianapolis-based company continues to advertise Taltz directly to consumers. Their new direct-to-consumer (DTC) ad plays on the idea of clarity, both through clearly imagining the possibility of being confident in one’s skin and achieving clear skin through Taltz treatment.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, people with psoriasis often report feeling self-conscious by the look of their skin, which may appear red and scaly in the affected areas. In addition to biologics, patients can apply topical creams or take oral drugs to reduce inflammation and plaque buildup. The burden of this disease warrants further research in better treatments and management strategies.