The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Otezla (apremilast) to treat adults with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in March 2014.
PsA is a form of arthritis that affects some people with psoriasis. Most people develop psoriasis first and are later diagnosed with PsA. Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the main signs and symptoms of PsA. Currently approved treatments for PsA include corticosteroids, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, and an interleukin-12/interleukin-23 inhibitor.
“Relief of pain and inflammation and improving physical function are important treatment goals for patients with active psoriatic arthritis,” said Curtis Rosebraugh, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Otezla provides a new treatment option for patients suffering from this disease.”
The safety and effectiveness of Otezla, an inhibitor of phosphodieasterase-4 (PDE-4), were evaluated in three clinical trials involving 1,493 patients with active PsA. Patients treated with Otezla showed improvement in signs and symptoms of PsA, including tender and swollen joints and physical function, compared to placebo.
Patients treated with Otezla should have their weight monitored regularly by a healthcare professional. If unexplained or clinically significant weight loss occurs, the weight loss should be evaluated and discontinuation of treatment should be considered. Treatment with Otezla was also associated with an increase in reports of depression compared to placebo.
The FDA is requiring a pregnancy exposure registry as a post-marketing requirement to assess the risks to pregnant women related to Otezla exposure.
In clinical trials, the most common side effects observed in patients treated with Otezla were diarrhea, nausea, and headache.
NEWS (Sept 23rd 2014): Oral OTEZLA® (apremilast) Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the Treatment of Patients with Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis