Can Biologics be used to treat Childhood Psoriasis?

Ointments and topical medications are normally the first treatment options for psoriasis outbreaks. Phototherapy is brought in subsequently, the therapy acts by slowing down the rapid production of skin cells with the effect of Ultraviolet rays. Psoriasis is stubborn in nature and sometimes these treatments prove ineffective, even if they work effects do not last long. In situations like this doctors resort to biologics or tablets that effect the whole body.

FDA has yet to approve biologics in the treatment of childhood psoriasis, but if physicians do feel the need to prescribe these drugs, they have to do it as “off-label”. But according to a study, conducted in 2008 and published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, Enebrel (etanercept) proves effective in the significant improvement of moderate to severe symptoms of childhood psoriasis.

The study showed that, of the 211 children, 57% experienced improved lifestyles due to symptom reduction of up to 75%. Of the subjects tested with placebo, only around 11% experienced similar results. 

Biologics often show side-effects over a long period of time and are therefore required to be recommended with care. The FDA had announced in June 2008 that they are conducting a study relating cancer development with the use of TNF, which included Enbrel.

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