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Louise Chang, MD
Feb. 12, 2009 -- Ustekinumab, a biologic drug designed to treat psoriasis, may also curb
researchers report online in The Lancet.
Ustekinumab isn't on the market. Its maker, Centocor Inc., had asked the FDA
to consider approving ustekinumab to treat chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults. The FDA
wants more information before making a decision, according to a news release
Centocor issued in December 2008.
In The Lancet, researchers including Alice Gottlieb, MD, of Tufts
Medical center in Boston report that ustekinumab trumped a placebo at treating
psoriatic arthritis in adults studied for
"Ustekinumab significantly reduced signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis
and diminished skin lesions compared with placebo, and the drug was well
tolerated," Gottlieb and colleagues write.
"Adverse events and infections were similar in each treatment group and
serious adverse events arose only with the placebo," the study states. But the
researchers caution that larger, longer studies are needed to further study
ustekinumuab for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.
Centocor funded the study, and several of Gottlieb's colleagues are Centocor
Ustekinumab looks like "an attractive option in psoriatic arthritis," states
an editorial published with the study. But "we should, nevertheless, remain
vigilant for potential complications," write the editorialists, who included
Raquel Cuchacovich, MD, of the rheumatology section of the Louisiana State
University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
SOURCES:Gottlieb, A. The Lancet, Feb. 12, 2009; online edition.Cuchacovich, R. The Lancet, Feb. 12, 2009; online edition.News release, Centocor.
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