Switching to adalimumab for psoriasis patients with a suboptimal response to etanercept, methotrexate, or phototherapy: efficacy and safety results from an open-label study

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Apr;64(4):671-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2010.03.009.


Background: Strategies for transitioning patients with psoriasis from suboptimal therapy have not been delineated.

Objective: We sought to determine the efficacy and safety of transitioning to adalimumab for the treatment of psoriasis in patients with suboptimal response to prior therapy with etanercept, methotrexate (MTX), or narrowband (NB)-ultraviolet (UV)B phototherapy.

Methods: In this 16-week, open-label, phase IIIb trial, patients with chronic plaque psoriasis discontinued suboptimal therapy between 11 and 17 days (etanercept) or between 4 and 10 days (MTX and NB-UVB) before initiating adalimumab (80 mg at week 0, then 40 mg every other week from week 1). The primary end point was the percentage of patients achieving a Physician Global Assessment of "clear" or "minimal" at week 16.

Results: At week 16, Physician Global Assessment of "clear" or "minimal" was achieved by 52% of all enrolled patients (79 of 152) and 49%, 61%, and 48% in the etanercept, MTX, and NB-UVB subgroups, respectively. Four patients (2.6%) experienced at least 125% worsening of Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score relative to screening value at any study visit. The adalimumab safety profile was consistent with results from other psoriasis clinical trials.

Limitations: This study is limited by its relatively short 16-week duration, small patient enrollment, and open-label design.

Conclusion: Patients who had a suboptimal response to etanercept, MTX, or NB-UVB phototherapy experienced a similar, approximately 50% likelihood of achieving a clinically relevant response to adalimumab. Immediate transition to adalimumab from prior suboptimal therapy, with no dosage tapering or overlap, had a low risk of psoriasis flare.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00566722.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Phototherapy
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Adalimumab
  • Etanercept
  • Methotrexate

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00566722