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Br J Dermatol. 2006 Jul;155(1):160-9.

Infliximab for severe, treatment-resistant psoriasis: a prospective, open-label study.

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  • 1Skin Therapy Research Unit, St John's Institute of Dermatology, St Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK. catherine.smith@kcl.ac.uk



Infliximab, a mouse-human chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against tumour necrosis factor-alpha, has been shown to be effective for moderate to severe psoriasis, but there are few data published on its use in recalcitrant, treatment-resistant disease or in combination with other antipsoriatic therapies.


To report our experience with infliximab in the treatment of patients attending a tertiary referral service with severe recalcitrant disease.


All patients attending a tertiary referral service for severe psoriasis who were treated with infliximab between 2002 and July 2005 were entered into a prospective, open-label study. Details on disease phenotype, clinical course and adverse events were recorded together with measures of disease severity [Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), Dermatology Life Quality Index, clinical photography] at baseline, weeks 2 and 6, and then at 2-monthly intervals throughout the treatment period.


Twenty-three patients were treated with infliximab during the study; one patient had pustular psoriasis and was therefore excluded from statistical analysis. All had severe disease (baseline PASI 26.5+/-6.7, mean+/-SD, n=22) and had received at least two systemic therapies for psoriasis in the past; 16 were taking one or more concomitant therapies at the time of treatment initiation. At week 10, 95% had achieved a 50% or greater improvement in baseline PASI (PASI 50), and 77% had achieved a 75% or greater improvement (PASI 75). Efficacy was sustained in the longer term, with eight of 10 patients on treatment for more than 11 months maintaining at least a PASI 50. Only one patient had treatment withdrawn due to lack of efficacy, two suffered severe systemic infections including extrapulmonary tuberculosis (splenic abscess) and cellulitis, and six have discontinued due to adverse effects including infusion reactions (two), severe thrombocytopenia (one), hepatitis (one) and malignancy (two).


Data from this open-label study suggest that infliximab is a rapidly effective treatment for patients with severe, treatment-resistant disease, although approximately 25% of patients had to discontinue therapy due to the development of serious adverse effects. Long-term follow-up, continued pharmacovigilance, and further controlled comparative studies will be required to evaluate fully the risks associated with infliximab in the context of this already difficult to treat population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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