Apremilast, an oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, in the treatment of palmoplantar psoriasis: Results of a pooled analysis from phase II PSOR-005 and phase III Efficacy and Safety Trial Evaluating the Effects of Apremilast in Psoriasis (ESTEEM) clinical trials in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jul;75(1):99-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2016.02.1164. Epub 2016 Mar 24.


Background: Difficult-to-treat palmoplantar psoriasis has a disproportionately negative impact on quality of life.

Objective: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of apremilast in palmoplantar psoriasis.

Methods: A post hoc analysis of data pooled from phase IIb (PSOR-005) and phase III (Efficacy and Safety Trial Evaluating the Effects of Apremilast in Psoriasis [ESTEEM] 1 and 2) clinical studies was conducted to determine the effect of apremilast 30 mg twice daily versus placebo at week 16 in a subset of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis with active palmoplantar psoriasis (baseline Palmoplantar Psoriasis Physician Global Assessment [PPPGA] score ≥1).

Results: Significantly more patients taking apremilast with moderate to severe palmoplantar psoriasis (baseline PPPGA score ≥3) achieved PPPGA score 0 (clear) or 1 (almost clear) compared with placebo at week 16 (48% vs 27%; P = .021). At week 16, 46% of the apremilast group with baseline PPPGA score 1 or higher achieved a PPPGA score of 0 versus 25% of the placebo group (P < .001); 59% of the apremilast group had a PPPGA score of 0 or 1 with 1-point or more improvement versus 39% receiving placebo (P < .001).

Limitations: This post hoc analysis was limited to 16 weeks and did not assess palmoplantar pustules, lesion localization, or surface area involvement.

Conclusion: Apremilast may be a useful oral treatment option for patients with moderate to severe palmoplantar plaque psoriasis.

Keywords: ESTEEM; PSOR-005; apremilast; difficult to treat; moderate to severe; palmoplantar psoriasis; palms; soles.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Foot Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Foot Dermatoses / pathology
  • Hand Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Hand Dermatoses / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thalidomide / administration & dosage
  • Thalidomide / adverse effects
  • Thalidomide / analogs & derivatives*
  • Thalidomide / therapeutic use


  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors
  • Thalidomide
  • apremilast