Briakinumab More Effective Than Methotrexate in Psoriasis

Although more frequent serious infections and cancers seen with briakinumab

THURSDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, briakinumab is more effective than methotrexate, although serious infections and cancers occur more frequently with briakinumab, according to a study published in the Oct. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Kristian Reich, M.D., from the Dermatologikum Hamburg in Germany, and colleagues compared the efficacy and safety of briakinumab with that of methotrexate in patients with psoriasis. A total of 154 patients were randomly assigned to briakinumab, and 163 to methotrexate. The primary end points at weeks 24 and 52 were the percentages of patients with at least 75 percent improvement in the psoriasis area-and-severity index (PASI) score, and a score of 0 (no apparent disease) or 1 (minimal disease) on the physician's global assessment scale.

The investigators found that the briakinumab and methotrexate groups showed at least a 75 percent improvement in the PASI score in 81.8 and 39.9 percent of patients, respectively, at week 24, and in 66.2 and 23.9 percent of patients, respectively, at week 52. The briakinumab and methotrexate groups showed a score of 0 or 1 on the physician's global assessment in 80.5 and 34.4 percent of patients, respectively, at week 24, and 63.0 and 20.2 percent of patients, respectively, at week 52. In the briakinumab and methotrexate groups there were serious adverse events in 9.1 and 6.1 percent of patients, respectively; serious infections in 2.6 and 1.8 percent of patients, respectively; and cancers occurred in 1.9 and 0 percent of patients, respectively.

"Briakinumab showed higher efficacy than methotrexate in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis," the authors write.

The study was funded by Abbott Laboratories, which developed briakinumab; several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott.

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