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Potential new treatment for psoriatic arthritis shows promise

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A new alternative treatment for psoriatic arthritis has been shown to be effective for most patients in a year-long study.

Phase III trial results published in The Lancet reveal that the interleukin-17A (IL-17A) inhibitor therapy secukinumab, developed by Novartis, significantly improved the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, with efficacy sustained over one year.

Subcutaneously administered secukinumab at doses of 300 mg and 150 mg provided physical functioning and quality of life benefits, Novartis said. Clinical improvements were observed in patients as early as three weeks after starting treatment.

Benefits of the drug were generally higher in patients without previous treatment with standard of care anti-TNF therapy, but clinical benefits were observed in both anti-TNF-naïve patients and those who had an inadequate response to anti-TNFs.

As Novartis noted, many patients do not respond to, or tolerate, these therapies and approximately 40% of people are dissatisfied with current treatments, which means there is a high unmet need for alternative treatments.

The manufacturer recently filed regulatory submissions for secukinumab for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, another inflammatory disease.

Earlier this year, the drug became the first and only IL-17A inhibitor to be approved in Europe as a first-line systemic treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients. It is sold under the brand name Cosentyx.

Commenting on the latest trial results, a spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said that secukinumab could provide another alternative treatment option for people with psoriatic arthritis whose condition has failed to respond to existing biological therapies.