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US FDA approves new psoriasis drug

Washington: The US Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Siliq (brodalumab) to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Siliq, administered as an injection, is intended for patients who are candidates for systemic therapy (treatment using substances that travel through the bloodstream, after being taken by mouth or injected) or phototherapy (ultraviolet light treatment) and have failed to respond, or have stopped responding to other systemic therapies.

“Moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis can cause significant skin irritation and discomfort for patients, and today’s approval provides patients with another treatment option for their psoriasis,” said Dr Julie Beitz, director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA’s Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Patients and their healthcare providers should discuss the benefits and risks of Siliq before considering treatment.”

Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes patches of skin redness and flaking. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs more commonly in patients with a family history of the disease, and most often begins in people between the ages of 15 and 35. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, in which patients develop thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white scales.

Siliq’s active ingredient (brodalumab) binds to a protein that causes inflammation, inhibiting the inflammatory response that plays a role in the development of plaque psoriasis.

Siliq’s safety and efficacy were established in three randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials with a total of 4,373 adult participants with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who were candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. More patients treated with Siliq compared to placebo had skin that was clear or almost clear, as assessed by scoring of the extent, nature and severity of psoriatic changes of the skin.

Suicidal ideation and behaviour, including completed suicides, have occurred in patients treated with Siliq during clinical trials. Siliq users with a history of suicidality or depression had an increased incidence of suicidal ideation and behaviour compared to users without this history. A causal association between treatment with Siliq and increased risk of suicidal ideation and behaviour has not been established.

The most common adverse reactions reported with the use of Siliq include joint pain (arthralgia), headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, throat pain (oropharyngeal pain), nausea, muscle pain (myalgia), injection site reactions, influenza, low white blood cell count (neutropenia) and fungal (tinea) infections.

Siliq is marketed by Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

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