Current status and new developments in the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis with biological agents

Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;160(4):810-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00702.x.


Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting 1-3% of the general population. Among psoriatic patients, 5-40% are affected by psoriatic arthritis. Due to the chronic nature of the disease, patients suffer from substantial psychological and financial burdens, thus adding to a significantly impaired quality of life. Traditional systemic therapies for psoriasis, such as methotrexate, cyclosporin A, retinoids or PUVA therapy, have a potential for long-term toxicity and may not always provide sufficient improvement of the disease. The development of novel therapies targeting key steps in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis now provide new and efficient treatment options. Biological therapies for the treatment of psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis are defined by their mode of action and can be classified into three categories: the T-cell modulating agents (alefacept and efalizumab), the inhibitors of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha blockers, e.g. adalimumab, certolizumab, etanercept, golimumab and infliximab) and the inhibitors of interleukin (IL) 12 and IL-23 (e.g. ustekinumab and briakinumab). This article provides a brief overview of the currently approved biological agents in the European Union and of some newer agents, such as briakinumab, certolizumab and golimumab.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacokinetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / etiology
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / immunology
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / physiopathology
  • Biological Products / adverse effects*
  • Biological Products / pharmacokinetics
  • Biological Products / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / pharmacology
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-12 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-23 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / etiology
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Psoriasis / physiopathology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / pharmacology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biological Products
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Interleukin-23
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-12