William C. Ports DVM,a Steven R. Feldman MD PhD,b Pankaj Gupta PhD,a Huaming Tan PhD,a Theodore R. Johnson PhD,c and Robert Bissonnette MDd
Intra-subject, left-right, randomized, controlled study designs are often used for proof-of-concept studies in dermatology. This design was used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a topical solution of tofacitinib (NCT00678561), a small-molecule Janus kinase inhibitor under investigation for the topical and oral treatment of patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. Eighty-one patients, each with matched left and right target plaques, were randomized to 2%, 0.2%, or 0.02% tofacitinib or vehicle solution once or twice daily. Patients treated one plaque as per their randomization group (2%, 0.2%, 0.02% tofacitinib, or vehicle solution), and used vehicle to treat the contralateral plaque for 4 weeks. Except during clinic visits, study drug applications were performed unsupervised outside the clinical trial site. Intra-subject, vehicle-adjusted mean percent change from baseline in Target Plaque Severity Score at week 4 (primary efficacy endpoint) was not significantly different from baseline for any treatment group (P values of 0.28–0.68). However, skin biopsy analyses detected tofacitinib in both tofacitinib- and vehicle-treated plaques of some patients, suggesting cross-contamination or solution misapplication.
Lack of efficacy with tofacitinib relative to vehicle may be due to the intra-subject study design with unsupervised applications.
These findings have potential implications for future intra-subject studies of topical treatments.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):777-784.
Rachel McAndrew MD,a,b Ethan Levin MD,b and John Koo MDb
BACKGROUND: Increased knowledge of the molecular regulatory mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenesis of psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases has created new opportunities for the development of targeted drug therapy for inflammatory conditions. Two new oral medications, apremilast and tofacitinib, have been developed for their immunomodulatory properties, and their potential efficacy in treating psoriasis is being evaluated.
METHODS: We reviewed phase III randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial results for apremilast and tofacitinib for efficacy and safety in psoriasis.
RESULTS: Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) 75 after 16 weeks for apremilast was between 28.8% and 33.1%. PASI 75 was 39.5% after 12 weeks on tofacitinib 5 mg, and 63.6% after 12 weeks on tofacitinib 10 mg. Common side effects for both drugs included nasopharyngitis and upper respiratory tract infections. Gastrointestinal disturbance was common for apremilast. Dyslipidemia and infections
were more common with tofacitinib than placebo.
CONCLUSION: Both new oral medications, apremilast and tofacitinib, appear to be effective in treating psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):786-792.
Daniel J. Aires MD JD,a Graham Rockwell PhD,b Alan Menter MD,c Colton Nielson,d Jo Wick PhD,e Stephanie Sedivy MD,f Ossamma Tawfik MD PhD,g Anne Bowcock PhD,h and Animesh A. Sinha MD PhDi
BACKGROUND: Psoriasis is a common but complex chronic inflammatory skin Disease. Array-based studies can help identify therapeutic targets.
OBJECTIVE: To reproducibly assess single-gene transcriptional changes in psoriatic skin.
METHODS: We evaluated 210 top candidate genes from a first psoriasis study group (population 1), and then confirmed differential expression in a second independent psoriasis study group (population 2).
RESULTS: One hundred and thirty-eight differentially expressed genes were replicated in the 2 studies, of which 57 have not previously been reported as associated with psoriasis. This is significantly greater than the 10 expected false positives. Lesional skin vs uninvolved areas showed inflammatory and cell regulation changes.
CONCLUSION: Previously undescribed psoriasis-associated genes revealed in this study may provide potential future targets for development
and assessment of novel therapeutic agents for psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):794-800.
Andrew Blauvelt MD MBA,a April W. Armstrong MD MPH,b Gerald G. Krueger MDc
Psoriasis is a systemic inflammatory disease. Effective management requires treatment with agents targeting inflammation in skin, joints, and other tissues. Biologics for psoriasis are directed at more specific targets, have a better safety profile, are better tolerated, and are more effective than conventional systemic agents. Despite these advances, many patients with psoriasis remain undertreated, and overall patient satisfaction remains low. The dichotomy between ideal therapeutic outcomes and suboptimal outcomes (which are currently commonplace) is likely largely due to misperceptions about psoriasis and biologic treatments. This article discusses these misperceptions, including the notions that psoriasis is a benign disorder, and that conventional systemic therapies are safer than biologics
and adequate for most patients with moderate-to-severe disease. We present practical and evidence-based discussions to refute these misconceptions and provide useful resources for providers and patients that support access to advanced therapies. We believe that biologics represent optimal treatment for most patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, and until more effective approaches are generated, these efficacious and target-specific approaches should become the standard of care.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):805-812.
Miriam S. Bettencourt MD
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are premalignant skin lesions caused by cumulative ultraviolet-light exposure that may progress to invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). As the clinical presentation of AKs varies widely, only a histopathologic analysis of a biopsied sample can eliminate or confirm a diagnosis of invasive SCC. Reducing the burden of AK with a combination of lesion-directed and field-directed treatments may help to identify persistent, suspicious lesions that require further evaluation. We present 10 cases of SCC that were identified and histologically confirmed in 7 patients after complete or substantial clearance of AKs by sequential treatment of sun-damaged skin with cryosurgery and ingenol mebutate.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):813-818.
Alice B. Gottlieb MD PhD,a Richard G. Langley MD,b Sandra Philipp MD PhD,c Bardur Sigurgeirsson MD PhD,d Andrew Blauvelt MD MBA,e Ruvie Martin PhD,f Charis Papavassilis MD PhD,g and Shephard Mpofu MDg
BACKGROUND: Interleukin (IL)-17A is a key cytokine in the pathogenesis of psoriatic disease of the skin and joints. In phase 3 trials, secukinumab, a fully human anti–IL-17A monoclonal antibody, demonstrated robust efficacy in psoriasis, with rapid onset, high response rates, and durable response.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of secukinumab in subjects with psoriasis and concomitant psoriatic arthritis (PsA) with respect to psoriasis symptoms and physical function, we conducted pre-specified subanalyses of the phase 3 FIXTURE and ERASURE trials.
METHODS: The 52-week FIXTURE and ERASURE trials randomized subjects with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis to subcutaneous secukinumab 300 or 150 mg (Baseline, weeks 1, 2, 3, every 4 weeks from week 4 until week 48), etanercept 50 mg (twice weekly through week 12, once weekly thereafter through week 51; FIXTURE only), or placebo. In this analysis, changes in Health Assessment Questionnaire–Disability Index (HAQ-DI) and PASI 75 responses were assessed in subpopulations with concomitant PsA (n=196, FIXTURE; n=171, ERASURE).
RESULTS: Physical functioning (mean change from Baseline in HAQ-DI) was greater with secukinumab 300 mg vs. placebo at week 12 in both trials (FIXTURE, -0.41 vs. 0.02/P=0.0001; ERASURE, -0.35 vs. -0.08/P=0.0003); corresponding values were -0.29 for etanercept and -0.19 for secukinumab 150 mg in FIXTURE and -0.18 for secukinumab 150 mg in ERASURE. Greater responses were seen in subjects with greater Baseline disability (HAQ-DI ≥05). Week 12 PASI 75 responses were higher with secukinumab 300 mg/150 mg vs. placebo in FIXTURE (72%/59% vs. 2%) and ERASURE (68%/70% vs. 4%; all P<0.0001) and with secukinumab 300 mg vs. etanercept (72% vs 39%; P=0.0084).
CONCLUSION: Secukinumab 300 mg produced significant improvement in psoriasis and physical functioning in subjects with concomitant PsA.
ClinicalTrials.gov numbers: NCT01358578 (FIXTURE); NCT01365455 (ERASURE)
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):821-833.
Brian Robert Keegan MD PhD
Data from two Phase 3, double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled parallel studies were evaluated to determine the efficacy and safety of twice daily desoximetasone 0.25% spray for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. In addition to global disease assessments, scaling assessments were performed at baseline and at weeks 1, 2, and 4.
To qualify for inclusion, subjects were required to have a clinical diagnosis of stable plaque psoriasis involving ≥10% of the body surface area (BSA), a combined target lesion severity score (TLSS) of ≥7 for the target lesion, a plaque elevation score of ≥3 (moderate) for the target lesion, and a Physician Global Assessment (PGA) score of 3 (moderate) or 4 (severe) at baseline for the overall disease severity.
At the baseline visit, the mean proportions of BSA affected by psoriasis were 17% (range 10% to 86%) in the desoximetasone 0.25% spray group and 16% (range 10% to 70%) in the vehicle spray group. Approximately 90% of the patients in each group had moderate to very severe scaling at baseline. Desoximetasone 0.25% spray was effective with significant improvements in overall severity and was well tolerated, with dryness, irritation, and pruritus at the application site being the only reported adverse events occurring in >1% of patients, each of which occurred in less than 3% of patients.
As a large proportion of psoriasis patients (94%) have reported being bothered by scaling, the relief of scaling was examined in these studies. At week 1, 69.7% of patients on desoximetasone 0.25% spray had scaling that was considered clear / almost clear / mild compared
with 48.3% for those on vehicle spray (P= .0027). By week 4, the proportion of patients with clear / almost clear / mild scaling had risen to 83.9% in the desoximetasone 0.25% spray group (P < .0001). After four weeks of treatment, 66.4% of patients in the topical corticosteroid group had an overall improvement of at least two grades of disease severity. This demonstrates that desoximetasone 0.25% spray provided fast and effective relief of scaling in patients with plaque psoriasis affecting 10% to 86% of their BSA.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):835-840.
Jerry Tan MDa and Matthew Leoni MD MBAb
BACKGROUND: Facial erythema is a primary feature of rosacea. Currently, no validated scales exist that can accurately capture a patient’s self-assessment of their own facial erythema. During phase 2 studies for brimonidine tartrate gel, a 5-point numeric rating scale was developed as a tool to allow subjects to provide an independent assessment of visible changes to the facial erythema associated with their rosacea.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to validate the revised patient’s self-assessment (PSA) scale and evaluate it for statistical reliability and validity in quantification of facial erythema of rosacea.
METHODS: The validity of the PSA scale was evaluated by assessing the test-retest reliability, construct validity, and known-groups validity
based on the data collected during a Phase 2b study on brimonidine gel for the treatment of persistent facial erythema of rosacea.
RESULTS: Based on the results of this evaluation, this PSA scale demonstrated test-retest reliability, construct validity, and known-groups validity.
LIMITATIONS: Study results are most generalizable to those with moderate to severe erythema.
CONCLUSION: The PSA is an appropriate scale to assess facial erythema associated with rosacea.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):841-844.
Caren Garber BA,a,b Natalia Plotnikova MD,a Shiu-chung Au MD,a Eric P Sorensen BS,a Alice Gottlieb MD PhDa,b
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Despite the aging population, few studies have documented the treatment of geriatric psoriasis. The purpose of this study is to compare the efficacy, safety, and prescribing patterns of biologics and conventional systemic medications in elderly versus adult psoriasis.
METHODS: All patient visits coded for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (ICD-9 696.1 or 696.0) at the Tufts Medical Center General Dermatology
Clinic from January 1, 2008, to March 1, 2015 were included in this retrospective cohort study. The outcome measure used was the validated simple-measure for assessing psoriasis activity (S-MAPA), the product of the physician’s global assessment and the body surface area.
RESULTS: 194 patients who underwent 278 treatment courses were included in the study. 48 patients were included in the elderly cohort (≥ 65 years old) and 146 in the adult cohort (18-64 years old). There was no significant difference in S-MAPA improvement at 12 weeks between the two cohorts when treated with biologics (42.92% improvement in adults, 48.77% in elderly; P=0.498) or conventional
systemics (43.96% and 51.82%, respectively; P=0.448). Within the elderly cohort, there was no significant difference in efficacy of biologics versus conventional systemics at any time point. Topical prescription rates were significantly higher in the elderly cohort (P=0.004) while biologic prescription rates were significantly lower (P=0.014) despite the same baseline S-MAPA in both age groups. For both biologics and conventional systemics, there was no statistically significant intergroup difference in the rate of adverse events (P=0.322 for biologics; P=0.581 for conventional systemics) or infection (P=0.753 for biologics; P=0.828 for conventional systemics). Within the elderly cohort, there was a higher rate of adverse events with conventional systemic treatment than with biologic treatment (P=0.033).
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that biologic and conventional systemic therapies are similarly safe and effective in the elderly and nonelderly cohorts. Within the elderly population, biologics may be a safer option than conventional systemic agents.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):846-852.
Aditya K. Gupta MD PhD FRCPC FAADa,b and Radhakrishnan Pillai PhDc
BACKGROUND: Transungual nail penetrance has traditionally been considered to be the only route of delivery for topical antifungals in onychomycosis. Subungual penetrance may be an alternate route of delivery.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the ability of efinaconazole vehicle solution to reach the site of toenail onychomycosis through application to the hyponychium or hyponychium and dorsal nail surface, and assess the impact of the air gap between the nail plate and nail bed.
METHODS: Twenty-three participants with moderate to severe, mycologically-confirmed onychomycosis were enrolled (mean age, 48.5 years). Two separate applications of vehicle solution containing fluorescein for visualization were applied at the hyponychium or hyponychium
and dorsal nail surface. Affected nails were later clipped to allow examination of the nail bed and further examination of the ventral surface of the nail. Spread of formulation was assessed under visible and UV light conditions by photographing target toenails after vehicle application and after nail clipping.
RESULTS: There was a positive correlation between the size of the air gap and degree of affected nail involvement (R2=0.064). Assessments
under both visible and UV light indicated that the vehicle had spread to the site of infection, with deposition of fluorescein wherever vehicle had reached, irrespective of application methodology or size of air gap. Nail clippings also indicated absorption into the ventral surface of the nail plate.
LIMITATIONS: The relative contributions of subungual versus transungual application of drug to the nail plate to the efficacy of efinaconazole
topical solution, 10% in treating onychomycosis were not assessed.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the low surface tension vehicle developed for efinaconazole topical solution, 10% can reach the site of infection by application to the hyponychium, dorsal or ventral nail surface and nail folds. This multidirectional approach to drug delivery at the site of fungal infection may contribute to the magnitude of efficacy seen in clinical trials.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):859-863.
Ronald Prussick MD,a Kristina Unnebrink PhD,b Wendell C. Valdecantos MDc
INTRODUCTION: In the Comparative Study of Humira vs Methotrexate vs Placebo In Psoriasis Patients (CHAMPION) study, significantly
more patients achieved ≥75% improvement in the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI75) and ≥90% improvement (PASI90) after 16 weeks of treatment with adalimumab (80 mg at week 0, then 40 mg every other week starting at week 1) compared with methotrexate (up to 25 mg/week orally) or placebo. In this exploratory analysis, the efficacy of adalimumab was evaluated in a subset of the CHAMPION patient population stratified by baseline body mass index (BMI).
METHODS: PASI responses and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) scores through 16 weeks of treatment were examined by baseline BMI category (<25 kg/m2 [normal], 25 to <30 kg/m2 [overweight], and ≥30 kg/m2 [obese]) in patients with psoriasis with a baseline PASI total score ≥12. Treatment differences between the adalimumab and the methotrexate or placebo groups were compared using Fisher’s exact test for PASI responses and 1-way analysis of variance for DLQI scores.
RESULTS: In all BMI categories, adalimumab treatment led to significantly greater rates of PASI75/90 responses at weeks 12 and 16 compared with methotrexate or placebo (P<0.05 for all). In normal weight, overweight, and obese patients at week 16, the respective PASI75 response rates were 85.0%, 85.7%, and 61.3% with adalimumab; 43.3%, 29.3%, and 26.1% with methotrexate;
and 28.6%, 16.7%, and 0% with placebo. PASI90 response rates were 70.0%, 53.6%, and 35.5% with adalimumab; 26.7%, 7.3%, and 8.7% with methotrexate; and 9.5%, 16.7%, and 0% with placebo. Across all BMI subgroups, the greatest decreases in DLQI scores from baseline occurred in the adalimumab group.
CONCLUSION: Significantly higher PASI75/90 response rates and more pronounced improvements in DLQI scores at week 16 were identified in patients treated with adalimumab, compared with methotrexate or placebo, regardless of baseline BMI category.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):864-868.
Nathaniel J. Jellinek MD FAAD FACMSa and Andrew Korotzer PhDb
OBJECTIVE: To identify those patients who are more likely to achieve treatment success with efinaconazole topical solution 10% based on clinical improvement and mycological status during treatment.
METHODS: A subgroup analysis of patients, aged 18 to 70 years, randomized to receive efinaconazole topical solution 10% or vehicle from 2 identical multicenter, double-blind, vehicle-controlled 48-week studies evaluating safety and efficacy. The primary end point, complete cure rate (0% clinical involvement of target toenail, and both negative potassium hydroxide examination and fungal culture) at week 52 was evaluated based on mycologic cure at week 24, and the degree of clinical improvement in nail involvement at week 12.
RESULTS: Over a quarter (25.1%) of patients treated with efinaconazole topical solution 10% who could demonstrate at least 10% improvement in affected nail involvement by week 12 progressed to complete cures at week 52. Similarly, 21.7% of patients who demonstrated mycologic cure at week 24 achieved complete cures at week 52.
CONCLUSIONS: Early clinical improvement and mycologic clearance may help to predict treatment success with efinaconazole topical solution 10%.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):871-875.
Bobbak Mansouri MD, Mary E. Horner MD, Alan Menter MD
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α inhibitors are currently the gold standard for treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and other immune-mediated diseases. The presence of previously existing demyelinating disease is amongst the contraindications to their use. However, controversy surrounds the use of TNF-α inhibitors in patients who are more predisposed to developing multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically first-degree relatives of MS patients. In fact, the major guidelines committees’ recommendations on this issue by the American Academy of Dermatology, the British Association of Dermatologists, and the European S3-Guidelines are not consistent. The data we present suggest that the number needed to treat is at least an order of magnitude smaller than the number needed to harm across all comparisons of anti-TNF-α agents and first-degree relative relationships. Based on these data, physicians could weigh the treatment options available and work closely with neurological colleagues when prescribing anti-TNF-α therapy in this patient population rather than practicing absolute prohibition of anti-TNF-α agents in patients who have a first-degree relative with MS.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):876-878
Caren Garber BA,a,b Malcolm Creighton-Smith BA,a,b Eric P Sorensen BS,a Nicole Dumont,a
Alice B. Gottlieb MD PhDa,b
BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: No systemic drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat pediatric psoriasis due to a lack of supporting data. The purpose of this study is to present cases demonstrating the use of systemic drugs in pediatric psoriasis.
METHODS: In this case series, data were collected on patients ≤ 18 years old with moderate-to-severe psoriasis treated with systemic medications (traditional systemic drugs or biologics) from 2008 through 2014. Efficacy was measured using the validated simple measure
for assessing psoriasis activity (S-MAPA), and the product of the body surface area and Physician Global Assessment.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven patients aged 5 to 18 years were eligible, and 56 treatment courses were analyzed. Methotrexate (MTX) was the most frequently prescribed systemic (70%), followed by etanercept (59%). Clearance rates were highest on biologic medications (67% for etanercept and adalimumab, 33% for ustekinumab). Phototherapy, cyclosporine, and MTX were less effective in clearing psoriasis,
although they were successful in improving S-MAPA ≥ 50% from baseline 100%, 67%, and 36% of the time, respectively. The most common adverse events were sunburn for patients on narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy (14%), gastrointestinal intolerance and minor infections for patients on MTX (16% each), and minor infections for patients on etanercept (25%) and adalimumab (33%). The most common reasons for discontinuation were secondary failure (38% for etanercept, 33% for adalimumab) or lack of response (37% for MTX, 33% for cyclosporine).
CONCLUSION: Although phototherapy, MTX, and cyclosporine are effective for controlling resistant pediatric psoriasis, concerns about long-term safety or inconvenience have led people to consider biologics in their place. However, there is a lack of literature on the use of biologics in pediatric psoriasis. These cases attest to the safety and efficacy of etanercept, adalimumab, and ustekinumab in pediatric psoriasis, expanding the treatment repertoire and guiding dermatologists in better managing recalcitrant pediatric psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):881-886.
Jenna M. Wald MD,a Daniel M. Klufas BS,a and Bruce E. Strober MD PhDa,b
Palmoplantar psoriasis is a chronic debilitating type of psoriasis. Treatment options for this disease are poorly studied. This chart review evaluated the use of methotrexate alone and in combination with 7 other systemic therapies in 48 patients with palmoplantar psoriasis. The findings demonstrate that methotrexate is a relatively well-tolerated and effective treatment for palmoplantar psoriasis, amenable as either monotherapy or in combination with other systemic agents.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):888-892.
Eric P. Sorensen BS,ab Kristina A. Fanucci BS,ac Ami Saraiya MD,a Eva Volf MD,a Shiu-chung Au MD,a Yahya Argobi MD,a Ryan Mansfield AS,a and Alice B. Gottlieb MD PhDa,c
BACKGROUND: Additional studies are needed to examine the efficacy of ustekinumab in psoriasis patients who have previously been exposed to tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi).
OBJECTIVE: To examine the predictive effect of TNFi primary failure and the number of TNFi exposures on the efficacy of ustekinumab in psoriasis treatment.
METHODS: This retrospective study examined 44 psoriasis patients treated at the Tufts Medical Center Department of Dermatology between
January 2008 and July 2014. Patients were selected if they were treated with ustekinumab and had ≥ 1 previous TNFi exposure. The following subgroups were compared: patients with vs without a previous TNFi primary failure, and patients with one vs multiple previous TNFi exposures. The efficacy measure used was the previously validated Simple Measure for Assessing Psoriasis Activity (S-MAPA), which is calculated by the product of the body surface area and physician global assessment. The primary outcome was the percentage improvement S-MAPA from course baseline at week 12 of ustekinumab treatment. Secondary outcomes were the psoriasis clearance, primary failure, and secondary failure rates with ustekinumab treatment.
RESULTS: Patients with a previous TNFi primary failure had a significantly lower percentage improvement in S-MAPA score at week 12 of ustekinumab treatment compared with patients without TNFi primary failure (36.2% vs 61.1%, P=.027). Multivariate analysis demonstrated
that this relationship was independent of patient demographics and medical comorbidities. Patients with multiple TNFi exposures
had a non-statistically significant lower percentage S-MAPA improvement at week 12 (40.5% vs 52.9%, P=.294) of ustekinumab treatment compared with patients with a single TNFi exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: Among psoriasis patients previously exposed to TNFi, a history of a previous TNFi primary failure predicts a decreased response to ustekinumab independent of patient demographics and medical comorbidities.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(8):893-898.