Background: There is a lack of data on the combination of phototherapy with etanercept in patients who have not shown an excellent response to etanercept monotherapy.
Objectives: To study the combination of narrow-band ultraviolet B (nbUVB) phototherapy with etanercept in patients not demonstrating an improvement of 90% in their Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI-90) after 12 weeks of etanercept.
Patients and methods: Psoriatic patients not reaching PASI-90 after 12 weeks of etanercept therapy were randomized (1:1) to receive either etanercept (50 mg once a week) monotherapy or in combination with nbUVB three times weekly for periods of 4 weeks.
Results: Seventy-five patients were randomized. Only 21.6% of patients achieved adherence of 80% or more for nbUVB treatments. At week 24, PASI-90 was reached by 16.2% of patients in the etanercept plus nbUVB group when compared with 15.8% of patients in the etanercept monotherapy group (p = 1.000). In patients with high adherence to nbUVB, the PASI-90 at week 16 was 42.9% for etanercept with nbUVB when compared with 3.4% for etanercept monotherapy (p = 0.018). Both treatments were well tolerated.
Conclusion: Addition of nbUVB after 12 weeks of etanercept did not significantly improve the clinical response except for a subset of patients with high adherence to nbUVB.
Clinical trials registration number: NCT00640393.