Background The safety and efficacy of etanercept have been demonstrated in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Placebo-controlled trials have indicated the efficacy of etanercept in moderate to severe psoriasis.
Objectives To observe the efficacy and safety profile of etanercept in patients with severe psoriasis resistant to other systemic agents over a 2-year period.
Methods In this retrospective study, 49 patients were treated with etanercept between March 2004 and March 2006. All patients were screened for tuberculosis with tuberculin test and a chest X-ray. Thirty-nine patients started on etanercept 25 mg twice weekly (BIW) and 10 started at 50 mg BIW when judged to be clinically indicated. In 19 of those on 25 mg BIW, the dose was increased to 50 mg BIW because of poor response and psoriasis flaring. Response to treatment was assessed by Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and static Physician Global Assessment (PGA). Patients were reviewed at 8-week intervals, when clinical response and adverse effects were noted.
Results Forty-four patients (90%) had chronic plaque psoriasis, two (4%) were suberythrodermic, one (2%) had palmoplantar pustular psoriasis and two (4%) had acrodermatitis continua of Hallopeau. At least 75% reduction in PASI was achieved in 47% of patients at week 24 and 66% at week 48. At week 24, 44% had a PGA score of excellent, and at week 48, 58% scored excellent. In 12 who cleared, etanercept was stopped. Ten of these relapsed and etanercept was recommenced, while two remained in remission (mean 12·5 weeks). One patient developed extrapulmonary tuberculosis.
Conclusions Etanercept was effective in severe psoriasis recalcitrant to other systemic medication. The drug was well tolerated. Development of tuberculosis in one patient underlines the need for rigorous tuberculosis screening.