Scientists evaluating the prescription drug Otezla recently said it provided “significant" improvement to patients suffering from moderate plaque psoriasis, a condition the National Psoriasis Foundation says affects 7.5 million people across the United States.
Plaque psoriasis, thought to be the most widely occurring version of the disease, causes a rash on the scalp, elbows and other areas, according to the foundation’s website.
The 16-week clinical trial examined the drug’s effect on 221 patients with the rash on up to 10 percent of their bodies, according to a press release from Otezla’s manufacturer, Summit, New Jersey.-based Celgene Corp. The drug was administered in pill form at 30 mg twice daily.
By the end of the study, people who took Otezla saw their symptoms reduced compared to ointments they had used in the past or to a placebo in the current study. About one-third of the participants saw a minimum of 75 percent improvement in their symptoms, according to the release.
Findings from the UNVEIL study were presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting in Orlando. Celgene says UNVEIL is the first study of the medication’s effects in which subjects were randomly selected to receive either the drug or a placebo.
Dr. Bruce Strober, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at UConn Health, said treatment options for psoriasis are scarce.
“While most trials focus on moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, this is the first randomized clinical trial of patients with moderate plaque psoriasis, and the results provide encouraging data for patients,” he said in the release.