Analysis shows promise for patients who temporarily stopped taking Cosentyx

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Patients who stop and then resume taking the psoriatic arthritis drug Cosentyx (secukinumab) can re-achieve the benefits of clear, or nearly clear, skin. That’s according to an analysis presented this month at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2017 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

In 2016, Cosentyx did $1.1 billion in sales — an annual amount that could reach $2.9 billion by 2020, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. And since January 2015, more than 20,000 U.S. patients have received Cosentyx, according to manufacturer Novartis. Both the drug and competitor Taltz (ixekizumab) are very pricy: in the mid-$50,000 range per patient per year, the IBJ article notes.

The (post hoc) announcement from Cosentyx-maker Novartis centers on patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who relapsed –for whatever reason — after stopping their treatment. Of those patients, 94 percent saw a 75 percent improvement and most saw 90 to 100 percent improvement after 16 weeks of treatment on Cosentyx 300 mg. No anti-secukinumab antibodies were discovered during the resumption of treatment, the analysis found.

The analysis used a measure called the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), which scores plaque redness, scale, and thickness, and the degree to which the disease involves four bodily regions — head and neck; arms and hands; chest, belly, and back; and legs, thigh, and buttocks.

“Previous data has shown favorable results for continuous over intermittent treatment, however sometimes patients have treatment pauses,” the company noted in a release. “This new analysis shows that if psoriasis patients relapse during treatment pauses, the majority can achieve previous high levels of efficacy after only 16 weeks of retreatment with Cosentyx.”

Of course patients should try their best to avoid pausing their treatments, Novartis’ chief medical officer said in the release. “However, if for some reason treatment has been interrupted, this analysis gives patients and clinicians the peace of mind that Cosentyx is likely to help people quickly achieve clear skin once again,” Vasant Narasimhan said.

Among the 136 patients who had seen their condition improve by 75 percent prior to stopping treatment, 94 percent saw the same results by week 16 of resuming Cosentyx, according to the data. Of the 117 who had previously seen a 90 percent improvement, 79 percent experienced the same response during that time span, and 67 percent of the 67 who had seen their condition improve by 100 percent regained that level. The median time of relapse was 28 weeks.

“We found that stopping and re-starting Cosentyx led to good re-capture of clinical responses. Low immunogenicity associated with Cosentyx may offer a partial explanation of these results and warrants further analysis,” said Andrew Blauvelt, the lead investigator and president of Oregon Medical Research Center, in the release.