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This press release just came across my email (and props to the NPF for sending out press releases that are actually awesome; it makes my little journalist’s heart so happy.)
National Psoriasis Foundation releases consensus guidelines for treatment of plaque psoriasis
PORTLAND, Ore. (January 25, 2012)—To assist the millions of Americans living with psoriasis, the most common autoimmune disease in the country, the National Psoriasis Foundation published the most recent guidelines in the United States for the management of plaque psoriasis—the most prevalent form of the disease, affecting roughly 80 percent of people with psoriasis.
The consensus guidelines from the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board, adapted from the Canadian Guidelines for the Management of Plaque Psoriasis to reflect U.S. practice patterns, aim to clarify when to use oral and biologic medications for people whose psoriasis is beyond topical treatment. A table summarizing the latest research and thinking on eight drugs provides data on when and how to best use them in a way that has not been done before.
“It’s a bold table in that it says directly which treatment will work or which has little evidence to support it,” said Dr. Sylvia Hsu, a member of the Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board. “It spells out clearly in one or two sentences which method is safer than we previously thought.”
One example is the recommendation that cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug taken orally, may be used as a short-term solution for up to 12 weeks, although FDA guidelines allow its use for up to 12 months.
The new guidelines also state that ustekinumab, commonly known as Stelara, is safe and effective as a first-line therapy. Previously, its use has been limited to second- and third-line treatment.
Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the country, affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans. Appearing on the skin most often as red scaly patches that itch and bleed, psoriasis is chronic, painful, disfiguring and disabling. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, a related joint disease. There is no cure for psoriasis.