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Abstract

Background  Etanercept is a tumour necrosis factor-alpha antagonist used for the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Current opinion suggests that etanercept may have reduced efficacy in obese patients. Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy is unaffected by body weight and the addition of NB-UVB to etanercept therapy may supplement the efficacy of etanercept in these patients.

Objective  To evaluate the efficacy and safety of NB-UVB phototherapy when administered in conjunction with 50 mg of etanercept once weekly in the treatment of obese patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Methods  Thirty psoriasis patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 were enrolled into this randomized, ‘head-to-head’ comparison study. All subjects received 50 mg of etanercept twice weekly for 12 weeks and then randomized to receive either etanercept monotherapy or combination etanercept and NB-UVB three times weekly for an additional 12 weeks. Treatment response was evaluated using Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), body surface area (BSA) and Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) scores.

Results  Twenty-five subjects completed the study. At 12 weeks, 48% of all patients achieved PASI 75. By Week 24, 62.5% of all patients achieved PASI 75. Patients in the etanercept monotherapy and combination etanercept and NB-UVB phototherapy arms had similar rates of achieving PASI 75 (46.7% vs. 53.3% of each group, respectively).

Conclusion  Combination etanercept and NB-UVB has similar efficacy to etanercept monotherapy in obese patients. This result indicates that even in the setting of obesity, the majority of patients respond well to etanercept, with or without NB-UVB.