Adjunctive Use of Calcipotriene/Betamethasone Dipropionate Foam in a Real-World Setting Curtails the Cost of Biologics Without Reducing Efficacy in Psoriasis

Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2020 Dec;10(6):1383-1396. doi: 10.1007/s13555-020-00454-z. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Introduction: Although the efficacy of monotherapy with biologics for psoriasis is well established, many patients fail to achieve complete plaque clearance from their initial biologic treatment alone. Adjunctive treatment with topical calcipotriene plus betamethasone dipropionate (Cal/BD) foam may offer substantial clinical benefit and potential cost savings.

Methods: We conducted a 16-week, open-label, single-arm study of adjunctive therapy with Cal/BD foam in subjects who had been treated with etanercept or adalimumab for ≥ 24 weeks but had not obtained a satisfactory treatment response. Assessments included affected body surface area (BSA), Physician's Global Assessment (PGA) of disease severity, BSA × PGA, National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Treat to Target status, and likelihood of the physician to switch biologics. In parallel, a cost analysis was performed to compare the cost of switching to a different biologic versus adding Cal/BD foam to the original biologic.

Results: Four weeks of daily adjunctive treatment with Cal/BD foam led to notable reductions in BSA, PGA, and BSA × PGA relative to baseline. Additionally, by week 4, > 75% of subjects achieved NPF Treat to Target status, and the likelihood of the investigator to switch biologics decreased from 90.0% at baseline to 7.1%. The improved efficacy was maintained throughout the additional 12 weeks of maintenance Cal/BD foam application. The pharmacoeconomic evaluation demonstrated that adjuvant use of Cal/BD foam led to cost savings compared with switching biologic treatments.

Limitations: Due to the nature of the open-label study lacking a vehicle-treated control, no statistical comparison can be made.

Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that the addition of Cal/BD foam to plaque psoriasis patients who still have significant disease activity despite being on stable biologic therapy improves treatment outcomes to the point where switching to a more expensive biologic therapy is a less suitable treatment option.

Keywords: Adalimumab; Adjunctive therapy; Biologic therapy; Calcipotriene/betamethasone dipropionate (Cal/BD); Cost analysis; Etanercept; Observational study; Plaque psoriasis; Topical therapy.