A study of Remicade (infliximab) in patients who had already failed to respond adequately to a similar biologic showed that Remicade was still often successful in improving psoriasis symptoms. Remicade is a biologic treatment given by periodic IV infusions that is one in the class of TNF-alpha inhibitors that have transformed treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. An important question has been: might a patient who fails on one or more of these biologics still find relief from a different biologic? In this study, the answer was yes.
At week 10, just over half the patients had achieved a 75% improvement in their PASI score of psoriasis severity, which is the ‘gold standard’ test used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to measure treatment success. The number edged higher by week 26, including nearly one in three patients who achieved a 90% PASI score improvement by week 26, according to Dermatology Times:
“Some patients requiring treatment with a biologic agent for their psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis will fail to respond to an initial TNF-alpha blocker, and others may lose their response over time. Therefore, it is useful to have a repertoire of multiple options to choose from,” says Dr. [Alice] Gottlieb, dermatologist in chief and chairwoman, department of dermatology, Tufts Medical Center, and Harvey B. Ansell Professor of Dermatology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.
No new safety concerns were uncovered in the study, although monitoring only lasted 30 weeks. Remicade (and the other biologics) is a serious treatment that sometimes brings serious side-effects. It should also be noted that the study was sponsored by Remicade’s manufacturer, Centocor Ortho Biotech. Dr. Gottlieb is one of the world’s leading psoriasis researchers.
Bottom line? While Remicade, like the other biologics, should not be taken without careful consideration of risks and benefits, this study showed that patients who have failed on a different TNF-alpha inhibitor may still find relief from treatment with Remicade/infliximab.