Ustekinumab, CAS number 815610-63-0, is also known by it’s brand name Stelara, which is marketed by Janssen Biotech, Inc. Developed as a treatment for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, which may involve vast areas of their body, Stelara is unique in it’s dosing. Stelara, or ustekinumab, is typically given twice in the first month, and followed by only four additional doses per year. Many patients find the infrequent injections to be more tolerable, which in turn makes them more likely to adhere to the treatment guidelines. Check out this table of new treatment guidelines on the National Psoriasis Foundation’s website.
As a biologic that is able to block interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, which are immune-system molecules believed to be unsuitably active in the skin and joints of patients with psoriasis, ustekinumab has proven it’s efficacy in clinical trials. In one cardinal trial of Stelara, patients showed a 75% improvement in skin psoriasis symptoms after only 12 weeks of treatment. In addition, the improvement was sustained by most patients for at least a year. Side effects of ustekinumab include a risk of infection, especially upper respiratory infections, headache and exhaustion. Many studies of ustekinumab, or Stelara, to date have presented an impressive safety profile for patients.
In January of 2010 The New England Journal of Medicine published results of a clinical trial which compared ustekinumab and etanercept as treatment for patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. With 903 patients participating, they either received injections of 45 or 90 milligrams of ustekinumab, at weeks 0 and 4, or etanercept, 50 milligrams twice a week for 12 weeks. Of the patients who received 45 milligrams of ustekinumab, a 75% improvement was documented in PASI at week twelve, in 67.5% of patients. Patients who were administered 90 milligrams of ustekinumab also showed a 75% improvement, specifically 73.8% of these patients. The patient population who received etanercept had a 56.8% success rate for a 75% reduction in symptoms. While the disparity between these two similar treatments is not vast, an imparity remains nonetheless. Additional research and documentation is needed for the efficacious use of ustekinumab in patients suffering from plaque psoriasis, especially in comparison to biologics like etanercept. LGM Pharma is a provider of ustekinumab (Stelara), as well as etanercept (Enbrel), and offers complete research and development support to clients.
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