Following positive data from two Phase 3 trials, the European Commission (EC) approved Cosentyx (secukinumab) for the treatment of pediatric psoriasis. Drug developer Novartis announced the news early last week. As a first-line treatment, Cosentyx offers a beneficial therapeutic value to some of the 350,000 children and teens throughout the globe with moderate-to-severe psoriasis.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation:
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease (a disease with an unclear cause that is characterized by inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system) that causes inflammation in the body. Normal skin cells completely grow and shed in a month, [but] with psoriasis, skin cells do this in only three or four days, [piling] up on the surface of the skin.
Symptoms usually begin between ages 15 and 25. But for those with pediatric psoriasis, symptom onset is between 6 and 18. One in three patients will develop psoriatic arthritis. But in milder cases, symptoms include:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Raised plaques and scales on the skin and nails
- Skin dryness, flakiness, and peeling
- Severe itching
- Nail dents
For pediatric patients, psoriasis can also be mentally detrimental. Because they may be subject to additional bullying, they might feel stigmatized. As a result, their school performance, emotional health, and quality of life may suffer. Currently, there is no cure for psoriasis. However, there are some treatments. Learn more about pediatric psoriasis here.
Interleukins are a type of cytokine in our bodies that play a role in immune response and inflammation. In particular, interleukin-17A (IL-17A) encourages the development of plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and axial spondyloarthritis. Cosentyx is a biologic designed to inhibit IL-17A, reducing inflammation. Currently, data from a variety of clinical trials shows that Cosentyx is effective in treating the above conditions. Over 340,000 patients globally have taken Cosentyx.
In two Phase 3 trials, patients received either a placebo, a low dose of Cosentyx (75-150mg), or a high dose (75-300mg). 93% of patients in the low-dose group reached Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) 75 within 3 months; 59.5% achieved completely clear skin in this time. Additionally, 67% of patients achieved completely clear skin within 5.5 months. For those with severe cases, 75% of patients maintained PASI 90 through one year.
While both doses were effective, safe, and well-tolerated, Novartis now lists recommended doses based on weight:
- 75mg: for patients up to 110 pounds
- 150 mg – 300mg: for patients over 110 pounds