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Janssen announces FDA approval of Stelara for plaque psoriasis

The FDA has approved an expanded indication for Stelara for the treatment of adolescents with moderate plaque psoriasis…

plaque psoriasis

Janssen Biotech, Inc., has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an expanded indication for Stelara (ustekinumab) for the treatment of adolescents (12 years of age or older) with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy.

The approval marks a significant milestone for this age group as approximately one-third of individuals who develop plaque psoriasis do so before 20 years of age, and there are limited treatment options for adolescents.

Stelara has the potential to make a meaningful difference

Since receiving approval in September 2009 for the treatment of adults living with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, Stelara has become a leading therapeutic option for dermatologists and their patients, with only four doses a year after two starter doses. 

“Psoriasis can affect many aspects of everyday life and the visible plaques, itching and discomfort can take a particular toll on adolescents,” said Dr Andrew Greenspan, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Janssen. “With today’s approval, Stelara has the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these young adults.”

The approval of Stelara in moderate to severe plaque psoriasis is based on data from a Phase 3 study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of subcutaneous administration of Stelara in patients aged 12 years or older.

At least two-thirds of patients receiving Stelara were responders at the week 12 primary endpoint after just two doses at weeks 0 and 4, defined by achieving a Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) score of 0 or 1 (cleared or minimal psoriasis). Safety findings for adolescent patients treated with Stelara were consistent with those seen in studies in adults with plaque psoriasis.

“Psoriasis is a highly visible disease, and it is essential that these younger patients and their caregivers have options that can effectively reduce the difficult-to-conceal and often misunderstood plaques,” said Dr Michael Siegel, Senior Vice President of Research and Clinical Affairs for the National Psoriasis Foundation. “It is encouraging to have new treatment options where few exist for adolescents living with psoriasis during such formative times in their lives.”

What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune inflammatory disorder that results in the overproduction of skin cells. It is estimated that more than 7.5 million Americans live with the disease. The most common form of psoriasis, affecting about 80 to 90 percent of psoriasis patients, is plaque psoriasis characterised by raised, inflamed, red lesions, or plaques, which can cause physical pain. 

Approximately 80 percent of those affected with psoriasis have mild to moderate disease, while 20 percent have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The scalp and face are the most affected areas in adolescents. This can lead to emotional and social complications in this population.

What is Stelara?
Stelara, a fully human interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-23 antagonist, is a prescription medicine used to treat adults and children 12 years of age and older with moderate or severe psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet light alone or with pills). Stelara is administered subcutaneously at weeks 0 and 4, and then every 12 weeks thereafter.

Stelara is also indicated for the treatment of adult patients 18 years and older with active psoriatic arthritis, alone or with the medicine methotrexate, and for the treatment of adult patients 18 years or older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease who have already taken other medicines that did not work well enough or they could not tolerate it.

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