Otezla Approved By FDA for Psoriasis
The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the medication Otezla (apremilast) for moderate to severe Plaque Psoriasis this Wednesday. This is the first of its kind in the treatment of Plaque Psoriasis, and is expected to be a great relief to those who are not seeing improvements with their current methods of treatment.
“Psoriasis is an extremely common and debilitating skin disorder,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified dermatologist in Austin, Texas, “Studies have show that some individuals that suffer from report their quality of life to be similar to that of patients that have severe heart failure, and even cancer.”
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disorder that causes inflamed, raised, red plaques on the skin. These plaques can vary in shape and size, are often scaled over and can be quite painful especially if the fissure or crack.
“As a chronic condition, patients often suffer with psoriasis for years,” notes Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Austin. It’s also well recognized a good portion of psoriasis patients under treat or completely don’t treat their skin disease, often from disappointment or pessimism after many unsuccessful trials of different medications.
Biologic and systemic therapies for psoriasis have been around for years, but patients often shy away from them because of their side effect profiles or need from frequent injections. This is a reason why Otezla has been so welcome.
Otezla works by inhibiting an enzyme called PGE4 in immune cells that cause the skin disease. By decreasing the inflammation in the skin, scaly skin plaques become thinning and clear. The medication comes in the form of a pill that is taken twice-a-day.
In clinical trials, a significant number of patients saw improvement in their skin disease. Many of the patients experience a minimization of their inflammation and scaling due to psoriasis. It was also noted that patience experienced “almost clear” to “clear” areas of Psoriasis on their scalp and other areas of the skin.
“It is great to hear that there are successful studies being done for the treatment of psoriasis,” says Dr. Mamelak. Those suffering from psoriasis deal with exceptional amounts of stress along with their skin ailments. With continued research and medical advancements like Otezla, psoriasis patients will have new and effective options to help return their skin and lives to a more natural state.
Otezla is well tolerated by the vast majority of patients. The most common side effects include headache, nausea and diarrhea, which tend to improve with continued use of the medication. Some uncommon and rare side effect were depression and worsening of symptoms individuals that suffer from depression (seen in 0.2% of individuals in the study), weight loss (10% of patients) and interactions with other medications. Otezla is Pregnancy Category C. It should be used with caution and only if the benefits outweigh the risks in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
If you feel that you may be a candidate for Otezla for Plaque Psoriasis, please contact us to inquire more.