Background: Therapy with fumaric acid esters (FAE) has been shown to be safe and effective in patients with severe psoriasis in several clinical studies with limited follow-up periods. In view of the chronic character of psoriasis, long-term safety aspects are of major importance in determining the suitability of a drug during prolonged periods of treatment.
Objectives: To investigate adverse events of therapy with systemic FAE with follow-up periods of up to 14 years, in order to determine safety aspects of their long-term use in patients with severe psoriasis.
Methods: Current and/or past therapeutic use of FAE was reviewed in 66 patients with severe psoriasis.
Results: Forty-one of 66 patients had received FAE for at least 1 year, and 12 of these 41 patients had received FAE for between 10 and 14 years. Adverse events were reported in 73% of the patients. These were usually mild and mainly consisting of flushing (55%), diarrhoea (42%), nausea (14%), tiredness (14%) and stomach complaints (12%). A relative lymphocytopenia was observed in 76% of patients during therapy with FAE, resulting in a permanent discontinuation of therapy with FAE in four patients. A transient eosinophilia and moderate liver enzyme elevations were observed in 14% and 25% of patients, respectively.
Conclusions: The present study indicates that FAE can be considered as a safe long-term treatment in patients with severe psoriasis.