By Spondylitis Association of America
Monday, December 18, 2017
There had been speculation as far back as August 2016 that Taltz® (ixekizumab), an FDA-approved biologic medication used to treat psoriasis, would also be effective against psoriatic arthritis (PsA). A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases concluded that ixekizumab led to improvements in PsA disease activity, physical function, and decreased structural damage progression.
As of December 1, 2017, the FDA has officially approved Taltz injection 80 mg/mL for treatment of patients with active psoriatic arthritis. This approval comes as a result of two studies – SPIRIT-P1 and SPIRIT-P2 – that were designed to test the efficacy and safety of Taltz in PsA affected individuals. SPIRIT-P1 achieved this by comparing the perceived symptomatic improvements of Taltz versus a placebo (a mock medication with no therapeutic effects) in patients with no previous biologic medication treatments. SPIRIT-P2 was identical to SPIRIT-P1 except the study was performed on individuals who had previously taken TNF inhibitors, but did not experience noticeable symptomatic improvements. The studies were performed on a pool of 670 patients with the following requirements: that patients must have been diagnosed with PsA for at least 6 months, and that they experience at least three tender and three swollen joints.
The results were based on the ACR20 response – a standard defined by the American College of Rheumatology that represents a 20% decrease in disease activity. After 24 weeks, 58% of patients treated with Taltz in SPIRIT-P1 achieved ACR20, compared to only 30% on the placebo. In SPIRIT-P2, 53% of patients treated with Taltz attained ACR20, while only 20% reached the standard on the placebo. Based on these outcomes, Taltz can provide symptomatic joint relief for both those who have never taken biologic medications as well as those on other biologics who are not experiencing desired results.
Taltz (ixekizumab) is a live biological antibody (derived from living organisms), manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company that works by binding to the IL-17A cytokine that is partially responsible for inflammatory and immune bodily responses. This binding obstructs the cytokine’s interaction with its IL-17 receptor, reducing inflammatory and immune reactions. Thus, PsA patients taking Taltz can hope to experience pain relief and overall general symptom alleviation. However, due to this lowered rate of immune response, patients taking Taltz should also be aware that they may be more susceptible to infections during use.
Sources Used and Further Reading
Lilly's Taltz® (ixekizumab) Receives U.S. FDA Approval for the Treatment of Active Psoriatic Arthritis
Overview of Psoriatic Arthritis, courtesy of SAA
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