"If you are more specific at targeting what's abnormal with psoriasis, you could lead to a lower risk of side effects," said Dr. Lawrence Green, a dermatologist in the Washington, D.C. area who was not involved in the latest research.
Green has received research and speaking fees from Amgen as well as other companies that make psoriasis drugs, including Stelara.
However, IL-17 inhibitors will suppress the immune system, just like other psoriasis drugs, so there is always the possibility of an increased risk of infection, Green said.
"The most important reason it is nice to have different medications out there is that some patients don't respond to TNF inhibitors or Stelara," he added.
"For those people already doing well on TNF inhibitors, there's no reason to change, but it's fantastic for those people who can't take them anymore. Now you have an alternative and you can feel better about controlling the condition for the rest of your life," Green explained.
If the IL-17 inhibitors are effective and safe in patients in phase 3 clinical trials, these drugs could be available for patients in two to three years, Leonardi said.
Researchers are also studying IL-17 inhibitors as possible treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.
To learn more about psoriasis, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.
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