Background: Briakinumab is a monoclonal antibody against the p40 molecule shared by interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, which is overexpressed in psoriatic skin lesions. We assessed the efficacy and safety of briakinumab as compared with methotrexate in patients with psoriasis.
Methods: In this 52-week trial, we randomly assigned 317 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis to briakinumab, at a dose of 200 mg at weeks 0 and 4 and 100 mg at week 8 and every 4 weeks thereafter (154 patients), or methotrexate, at a dose of 5 to 25 mg weekly (163 patients). The primary end points were the percentages of patients with at least 75% improvement in the score on the psoriasis area-and-severity index (PASI) at weeks 24 and 52 and a score on the physician's global assessment of 0 (clear; i.e., no apparent disease) or 1 (minimal disease) at weeks 24 and 52. A total of 248 patients were enrolled in an ongoing 160-week open-label continuation study.
Results: At week 24, a total of 81.8% of the patients in the briakinumab group versus 39.9% in the methotrexate group had at least 75% improvement in the PASI score, and 80.5% versus 34.4% had a score of 0 or 1 on the physician's global assessment. The corresponding percentages at week 52 were 66.2% versus 23.9% with at least a 75% improvement in the PASI score and 63.0% versus 20.2% with a score of 0 or 1 on the physician's global assessment (P<0.001 for all comparisons). During the 52-week study, serious adverse events occurred in 9.1% of the patients in the briakinumab group (12.9 events per 100 patient-years) and in 6.1% in the methotrexate group (10.6 events per 100 patient-years). Serious infections occurred in 2.6% of the patients in the briakinumab group (4.1 events per 100 patient-years) and in 1.8% in the methotrexate group (2.7 events per 100 patient-years); cancers occurred in 1.9% (2.0 events per 100 patient-years) versus 0%.
Conclusions: Briakinumab showed higher efficacy than methotrexate in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. Serious infections and cancers occurred more frequently with briakinumab, but the differences were not significant. (Funded by Abbott Laboratories; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00679731.).