Safety and Effectiveness of Ustekinumab for Treatment of Moderate to Severe Psoriasis: A Prospective Study in a Clinical Setting

August 2014 | Volume 13 | Issue 8 | Original Article | 971 | Copyright © August 2014

Alejandro Molina-Leyva MD, Husein Husein-Elahmed MD, Ramon Naranjo-Sintes PhD,
and Jose Carlos Ruiz-Carrascosa MD

Department of Dermatology, Hospital Universitario San Cecilio, Granada, Spain

BACKGROUND: There are few studies analyzing the behavior of ustekinumab in the complex management of psoriasis within diary clinical practice setting.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the utility of ustekinumab in a psoriasis unit.
METHODS: Analysis of the prospective data gathered during the follow-up of 30 consecutive psoriasis patients treated with ustekinumab at a single referral centre. Three effectiveness endpoints were defined 12 weeks, 28 and “long-term treatment”. The main outcome measure was improvement from baseline PASI at week 28 and at a point of adjustment of prolonged treatment signed as “long-term treatment”.
RESULTS: Overall 82.1% and 42.8% patients achieved respectively PASI75 and PASI90 response rates at week 28. Long-term treatment maintained efficacy outcomes 81.5% and 40.7% PASI75 and PASI90, respectively were observed. At week 28, patients naïve to TNFα- blockers agents and patients with a baseline PASI >10 had better PASI75 and PASI90 response rates than previously treated patients.
CONCLUSIONS: In clinical practice, the efficacy and patient adherence to ustekinumab are excellent and even better to the data obtained in clinical trials. Clinical indicators of psoriasis severity: previous treatments with tumor necrosis factor α blockers agents and active treatment beside small increases in PASI determine a delayed maximal response.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2014;13(8):971-974.


Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated skin disorder that affects 2% of the population. Moderate to severe forms of psoriasis require systemic treatment. The management of this condition with classic systemic agents such as methotrexate, acitretin, and cyclosporine have been associated with organ toxicity in long-term use. The new biologic agents show a superior response rate and are suggested to be absent of accumulative toxicity. Ustekinumab is a human monoclonal antibody against the shared p40 subunit of interleukins 12 and 23. Three phase III clinical trials (PHOENIX 1, PHOENIX 2, and ACCEPT) have shown high levels of effectiveness of this agent in patients with psoriasis. However clinical trials provide a poor perspective in the complex management of psoriasis within diary clinical practice setting due to the strict conditions and criteria associated to those types of researches. The aim of this study is to assess the utility of this agent in a diary clinical setting: The Psoriasis Unit of our clinic.



In our unit, 286 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis are attended. This prospective study involved 30 consecutive patients treated with ustekinumab from February 2009 to August 2012. Biometric data, history of psoriasis, previous therapies, comorbidities, effectiveness of the treatment measured by the psoriasis area and severity index (PASI), side effects and the results from complementary tests performed during the treatment were collected in each follow-up visit. The Ethic Committee of XX approved the study.
Treatment protocol
All the patients underwent pretreatment screening protocol according to the guidelines from the consensus document of the Academia Española de Dermatología.1 These pretreatment screening comprises test for latent tuberculosis, hepatitis B or C infection, HIV infection and a blood test including counter blood counts and basic serum chemistry. All the patients fulfil both the Spanish and American guidelines criteria for biological therapies and were treated with standard dose 45mg (at week 0, 4, and every 12 weeks). For patients >100kg 90mg dose was administered.
A washout period was not given prior to the initiation of ustekinumab in patients with unsatisfactory response to other systemic treatment

Definition of Effectiveness

The percentage of improvement in PASI score was defined as primary effectiveness outcome: PASI90, PASI75, and PASI50 reflect respectively an improvement of 90%, 75%, and 50% of the baseline PASI. Responders were defined as >PASI 75. Three effectiveness time endpoints were defined: at 12 week, 28 week, and long-term treatment. Long-term treatment included all the patients treated with ustekinumab who reached at least week