Eyes on Evidence: Biologic drugs for the treatment of psoriasis

Overview: Psoriasis is a skin condition in which skin cells reproduce too quickly, causing red, flaky, crusty patches with silvery scales. It affects about 2% of the UK population and is a chronic condition that often goes through cycles and can return at any time. There are several clinical variants of psoriasis, including plaque, guttate, erythrodermic and pustular. Plaque type is the most common form, accounting for 80% of cases. Psoriasis runs in families, although the exact role of genetics in the condition is unclear. The inflammatory processes of psoriasis are not fully understood but it is known that levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) are elevated in the skin of people with the condition.

See the NHS Evidence topic page on psoriasis for a general overview of the condition.

NICE recommends the use of biologic drugs infliximab, adalimumab and etanercept when psoriasis is severe and has failed to respond to standard systemic therapies such as methotrexate. Continue reading