Catherine M. Nguyen BS,a Argentina Leon MD,b Melissa Danesh BS,c Kourosh Beroukhim BS,d Jashin J. Wu MD,e and John Koo MDb
INTRODUCTION: A significant portion of patients with psoriasis have scalp and nail involvement. It has been reported that 40% to 45% of patients with psoriasis have nail psoriasis, and up to 80% have scalp involvement. Nail and scalp psoriasis have often been found to be difficult to treat, due to the poor penetration and poor compliance of topical medication. Oral and biologic therapies have shown significant efficacy but often with undesirable side effects. Herein, we analyze the efficacy of apremilast, an oral phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE-4) inhibitor, in the treatment of nail and scalp psoriasis at 16-, 32-, and 52 weeks.
METHODS: We reviewed the results of the phase IIb and phase III clinical trials for apremilast in treating nail and scalp psoriasis.
RESULTS: In ESTEEM 1, patients on apremilast showed a 22.5%, 43.6%, and 60.2% improvement in NAPSI at weeks 16, 32, and 52. 33.3%, 45.2%, and 63% of patients achieved NAPSI-50, respectively. In ESTEEM 2, patients on apremilast showed a 29%, 60%, and 59.7% improvement in NAPSI at weeks 16, 32, and 52, with 44.6%, 55.4%, and 68.6% of patients achieving NAPSI-50. In PSOR-005 at week 16, patients on a dose of 30 mg twice weekly had a 42.9% improvement in NAPSI with 45.5% reaching NAPSI-50. For scalp psoriasis, 46.5%, 37.4%, and 73% of patients achieved an Sc-PGA of 0 or 1 at weeks 16, 32, and 52 in ESTEEM 1. In ESTEEM 2, 40.9%, 32.4%, and 62.5% of patients achieved an Sc-PGA of 0 or 1 at weeks 16, 32, and 52.
CONCLUSION: With its limited safety profile of only diarrhea and headache and no additional lab requirements, apremilast may be a safer and more convenient alternative for patients with severe nail and scalp psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):272-276.
Aditya K. Gupta MD PhD FRCPC,a Boni E. Elewski MD,b Ted Rosen MD,c Bryan Caldwell DPM,dd David M Pariser MD,e Leon H. Kircik MD,f Neal Bhatia MD,g and Antonella Tosti MDh
Recurrence (relapse or re-infection) in onychomycosis is common, occurring in 10% to 53% of patients. However, data on prevalence is limited as few clinical studies follow patients beyond 12 months. It has been suggested that recurrence after continuous terbinafine treatment may be less common than with intermittent or continuous itraconazole therapy, probably due to the fungicidal activity of terbinafine, although these differences tended not to be significant. Relapse rates also increase with time, peaking at month 36. Although
a number of factors have been suggested to play a role in recurrence, only the co-existence of diabetes has been shown to have a significant impact. Data with topical therapy is sparse; a small study showed amorolfine prophylaxis may delay recurrence. High concentrations of efinaconazole have been reported in the nail two weeks’ post-treatment suggesting twice monthly prophylaxis with topical treatments may be a realistic option, and may be an important consideration in diabetic patients with onychomycosis. Data suggest that prophylaxis may need to be continued for up to three years for optimal effect. Treating tinea pedis and any immediate family members is also critical. Other preventative strategies include avoiding communal areas where infection can spread (such as swimming pools), and decontaminating footwear.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):279-282.
Agustin Alomar MD,a Eggert Stockfleth MD,b Thomas Dirschka MD,c Girish Gupta FRCP,d Selim Aractingi MD PhD,e Rada Dakovic PhD,f and Ketty Peris MDg
BACKGROUND: Imiquimod 3.75% is an effective actinic keratosis (AK) treatment that detects and clears clinical and subclinical lesions across an entire sun-exposed field such as the full face or balding scalp.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and safety of imiquimod 3.75% according to patients’ Fitzpatrick skin type.
METHODS: Data were pooled from two identical 14-week, double-blind studies. Patients were randomized to imiquimod 3.75% or placebo
and applied study medication to the full face or balding scalp each day for 2 two-week treatment cycles separated by a two-week treatment-free interval. End of study (EOS) was eight weeks after the last treatment application. Patients were subgrouped according to whether they had Fitzpatrick skin types I or II (FST I/II), or types III or IV (FST III/IV). Efficacy was analyzed using the reduction in lesions from Lmax (maximum lesion count during treatment) to EOS. This assesses whether clinical lesions, and subclinical lesions which become detectable during treatment, are cleared. Safety was assessed by monitoring local skin reactions.
RESULTS: In total, 173 patients with FST I/II and 142 with FST III/IV were included. The median percentage reductions in lesions from Lmax to EOS were similar in patients treated with imiquimod 3.75% with FST I/II and FST III/IV (94.2% and 89.7%, respectively) as were the median absolute reductions in lesions from Lmax to EOS (19.0 and 17.0, respectively). These reductions were significantly greater with imiquimod 3.75% versus placebo in the two respective FST subgroups (P<0.0001). The frequency of local skin reactions was similar in the two imiquimod 3.75% FST subgroups.
CONCLUSIONS: Imiquimod 3.75% is well tolerated and effective at clearing clinical and subclinical lesions across large areas of sun-exposed skin in patients with FST I–IV, and so can be considered for AK patients with any of these skin types.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):285-289.
Teo Soleymani MD,a Janna M. Vassantachart MS4,b and Jashin J. Wu MD FAADc
There are several well-established guidelines for the treatment of psoriasis. Guidelines have been proposed in the United States by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), in Europe by the European S3, in the United Kingdom by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and in Canada by the Canadian Dermatology Association. These guidelines are predominantly evidence-based, supported by expert panel consensus where evidence is lacking. Cyclosporine, a potent calcineurin inhibitor that acts selectively on T-cells, revolutionized the world of immunosuppression upon its discovery in 1970. Since its approval in 1997 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of psoriasis, cyclosporine has been used with great efficacy in the treatment of not only psoriasis but also a wide consortium of dermatological diseases. However, in the past decade or so, many dermatologists have become increasingly
hesitant to use this important drug because of its potent toxicity profile.
The purpose of this article is to review and compare the current evidence-based guideline recommendations for the use of cyclosporine in the treatment of psoriasis.
Although the various guidelines are similar in their initial treatment recommendations, significant differences exist in recommendations on maximal treatment duration (1 year versus 2 years), intermittent short-term versus continuous therapy, use in erythrodermic and palmoplantar psoriasis, as well as recommendations on managing cyclosporine-associated side effects. By following guideline recommendations,
cyclosporine remains an excellent and indispensable tool for the dermatologist treating moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):293-301.
Sara M. James BS,a Dane E. Hill MD,a and Steven R. Feldman MD PhDa,b,c
BACKGROUND: Costs for psoriasis have increased in recent years, in part due to the introduction of biologic agents.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the most common and most costly (from the payer perspective) drugs used in the treatment of psoriasis.
METHODS: We analyzed patient data from a large claims-based database in order to identify the most common and most costly medications
used in the treatment of psoriasis from 2010 to 2014.
RESULTS: The three most common psoriasis medications, accounting for 81.1% of all psoriasis medications, were topical corticosteroids.
The three most costly drugs, accounting for only 9.6% of all psoriasis medications, were biologics, accounting for 86% of the cost of psoriasis medications.
CONCLUSIONS: Biologic agents are used far less commonly in the treatment of psoriasis than topical treatments. Despite the relatively small number of patients using biologic agents, biologics are responsible for a large proportion of the cost of psoriasis pharmacotherapy.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):305-308.
Benjamin Farahnik BA,a Kourosh Beroukhim BS,b Mio Nakamura MD,c Michael Abrouk BS,d Tian Hao Zhu BA,e Rasnik Singh BS,b Kristina Lee BA,c Tina Bhutani MD,c and John Koo MDc
BACKGROUND: Studies investigating the molecular basis of psoriasis have established the central roles of TNFa, interleukin (IL)-12, IL-22 and IL-23, and now there is increasing evidence that IL-17 plays a vital role in the complex pathophysiology of this disease. Preclinical and phase II studies of medications targeting IL-17 and its receptor have thus far proved to be promising.
METHODS: We reviewed the results of the phase III clinical trials for the anti-IL-17 agents secukinumab, ixekizumab and brodalumab in order to assess the efficacy and safety profile of each agent.
RESULTS: By week 12, the proportion of patients reaching a 75% improvement from baseline Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI 75) was comparable between the different agents (secukinumab 83%, ixekizumab 89%, and brodalumab 85%). The safety profiles of the agents were similar with the most frequently reported adverse events of nasopharyngitis, upper respiratory infections, headache, and injection site reaction.
CONCLUSION: The anti-IL-17 agents demonstrated a rapid and robust clinical improvement accompanied by a favorable short-term safety profile. The results of the phase III trials continue to reinforce the theory that the IL-17 pathway is an essential target in psoriasis treatment.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):311-316.
Laura McDermott BA,a Raman Madan MD,a Reena Rupani MD,b and Daniel Siegel MDa
INTRODUCTION: Nail psoriasis is challenging to treat. The few currently available therapies are limited in efficacy, and often produce unfavorable
side effects. A plant extract widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, indigo naturalis (Qing Dai), is presented in this review as an alternative topical treatment for skin and nail psoriasis. The purpose of this article is to present information on a viable alternative treatment with a favorable side effect profile for a difficult disease to treat.
METHODS: A PubMed search for the term “indigo naturalis” was performed, and literature from 2006 to the present relevant to indigo naturalis and treatment of psoriasis and nail psoriasis was reviewed.
RESULTS: Indigo naturalis shares several therapeutic mechanisms with current psoriasis treatments, such as regulation of keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, restoration of epidermal barrier function, and reduction of inflammatory processes. Clinically, it is well tolerated.
CONCLUSION: Recent research of indigo naturalis suggests that it is a safe, inexpensive, and effective alternative topical treatment for skin and nail psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):319-323.
Leon H. Kircik MD,a James Q. Del Rosso DO,b Alison M. Layton MD,c and Jürgen Schauber MDd
Although the broad-spectrum anti-parasitic effects of the avermectin derivative ivermectin are well documented, its anti-inflammatory activity has only recently been demonstrated. For over 25 years, ivermectin has been used to treat parasitic infections in mammals, with a good safety profile that may be attributed to its high affinity to invertebrate neuronal ion channels and its inability to cross the blood–brain barrier in humans and other mammals. Numerous studies report low rates of adverse events, as an oral treatment for parasitic infections, scabies and head lice. Ivermectin has been used off-label to treat diseases associated with Demodex mites, such as blepharitis and demodicidosis. New evidence has linked Demodex mites to rosacea, a chronic inflammatory disease. Ivermectin has recently received FDA and EU approval for the treatment of adult patients with inflammatory lesions of rosacea, a disease in which this agent has been shown to be well tolerated. After more than 25 years of use, ivermectin continues to provide a high margin of safety for a growing number of indications based on its anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory activities.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):325-332.
Linda Stein Gold MD,a J. Mark Jackson MD,b Melissa L.F. Knuckles MD,c,d and Jonathan S. Weiss MDe
BACKGROUND: A novel formulation of 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate in an emollient spray vehicle (DFD-01) was developed to deliver steroid to the skin layers most affected by psoriasis.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of DFD-01 to its vehicle for the treatment of moderate plaque psoriasis over 4 weeks.
METHODS: Two Phase 3 trials enrolled adults with moderate psoriasis (Investigator Global Assessment [IGA]=3; 10–20% body surface area [BSA]) and randomized them 2:1 to DFD-01 or Vehicle. Products were applied twice daily to affected areas for 28 days. Treatment success was defined as an IGA=0 or 1 and ≥2-grade improvement from baseline. Primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects achieving treatment success at day 15.
RESULTS: Moderate psoriasis subjects were enrolled in Study 1 (174 DFD-01; 87 Vehicle) and Study 2 (182 DFD-01; 95 Vehicle). Mean BSA was 13–14%. Treatment success was achieved in significantly more subjects using DFD-01 than Vehicle at day 15 in both Study 1 (P<0.001) and Study 2 (P=0.002), and at day 29 (both studies P<0.001). Treatment success with DFD-01 was significant at day 8 in Study 1 (P=0.003) but not in Study 2 (P=0.156). Erythema, scaling, and plaque elevation scores of target lesions were significantly reduced as early as day 4 with DFD-01. Adverse events were similar between groups, with no increase between 2 and 4 weeks.
CONCLUSION: These studies demonstrate DFD-01’s excellent efficacy and safety for the treatment of extensive psoriasis (10–20% BSA). DFD-01 achieved treatment success in significantly more subjects than Vehicle after 2 and 4 weeks of treatment, and showed early onset of action with improved signs of erythema, scaling and elevation of target lesions after 4 days of treatment. This medium potency formulation provides a safe and effective choice for topical steroid treatment of psoriasis.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):334-342.
Paul Devakar Yesudian MRCP,a Joyce Leman FRCP,b Periasamy Balasubramaniam MRCP,a
Andy W. Macfarlane FRCP,a Firas Al-Niaimi MRCP,c Christopher E. M. Griffiths FRCP MD FMedSci,c
Arthur David Burden MD,b and Richard B. Warren FRCP PhDc
BACKGROUND: Oral methotrexate (MTX) has been a first line systemic agent in the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis (CPP) for more than 50 years. Parenteral MTX, administered as a subcutaneous (SC) injection has gained favour in recent years. The effectiveness of SC MTX has been proven in rheumatological conditions but there has been no assessment of its role in CPP.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed case notes of 85 patients prescribed SC MTX for psoriasis in three dermatology centres in the UK (Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust). Audit department approval was sought and granted.
RESULTS: A total of 85 patients (44 male; 41 female; age range 14 – 78 years, mean 44 years; 79 Caucasian, 6 Asian) with CPP were identified. The average duration of psoriasis was 19 years [range 3 - 60 years]. Co-morbidities included depression, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, epilepsy, obesity, ischaemic heart disease, and hyperlipidaemia; 29 patients had no associated co-morbidities. Psoriatic arthritis was noted in 18 patients.
Previous treatments included phototherapy (both narrow band ultraviolet B [TLO1] and psoralen and ultraviolet A [PUVA])(n=60), oral MTX (n=82), ciclosporin (n=37), acitretin (n=19), fumaric acid esters (n=20), hydroxycarbamide (n=6), mycophenolate mofetil (n=2), and repeated
in-patient admissions (n=2). Oral MTX was stopped due to nausea (n=43), ineffectiveness (n=13) or partial response (n=11), headache (n=3), increased liver enzymes (n=2), and lethargy (n=2). The median number of systemic agents used prior to SC MTX was 3 (mean 2.65, range 1 to 6 agents). The weekly dose of SC MTX varied between 7.5mg to 30mg (mean 18.5mg, median 20mg) and had been used for 2 months to 67 months (mean 14 months; median 9 months). Folic acid supplementation was used in every patient. The patients were reviewed between 6 weeks to 3 months once treatment was fully established. Using a pre-determined “adjective list” (where specific adjectives were used to denote those who responded or did not respond to treatment), patients were classified as “responders” (n=59) or “non-responders” (n=26).
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that SC MTX is an effective option in patients with CPP who have failed oral MTX and could be a worthwhile consideration prior to commencement of a biologic agent. Furthermore, the SC route may be a viable first choice of MTX administration. A randomised controlled trial comparing oral and SC MTX is required to validate these findings.
J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(3):345-349.