Quality of life studies in patients with cutaneous psoriasis attest to its significant impact on day to day activities and personal social interactions. Up to 40% of patients with psoriasis may develop psoriatic arthritis, usually within 5-10 years after onset of the cutaneous disease, heightening quality of life issues. These data have prompted an increased awareness and interest in more aggressive management of psoriasis; coupled with a better understanding of immunopathogenesis, this has led to the development of new agents targeting specific cells and molecules involved in the development and maintenance of psoriatic plaques. Although non-biological therapies, including methotrexate and ciclosporin, show significant efficacy their side effect profiles have precluded their long term use for moderate to severe psoriasis. This review concentrates on new biological agents, focusing on the three agents approved for psoriasis within the past 18 months (alefacept, efalizumab, and etanercept). Phase II and III trial data on other agents in development (adalimumab and infliximab) are also presented. Surveys show many patients want to be treated more aggressively. It is hoped that the introduction of new agents that are more targeted and that hold the promise of fewer side effects will cause patients and their physicians to reconsider systemic treatment and, as a consequence, stimulate other patients to reconsider treatment for psoriasis. Close cooperation between dermatologists and rheumatologists, particularly in the area of psoriatic joint disease, will enhance these considerations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)