Rates of Serious Infection Differ Among Psoriasis Therapies
The risk of serious infection varied among biologic and targeted agents used to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis but overall was low across the drug classes, a large retrospective review showed.

Biologics and targeted therapies, such as apremilast, are efficient treatments to manage moderate to severe psoriasis. More information about the risk of serious infection is needed for the newest treatment options in a real-world setting.

This study aimed to assess the risk of serious infection among biologics and apremilast used to treat psoriasis, with etanercept as the comparator.

This nationwide cohort study from France involved data from the National Health Data System covering approximately 99% of the French population. All adults with psoriasis, defined as receiving at least 2 prescriptions of a topical vitamin D derivative within a 2-year period, registered in the database were eligible. The study population included those who were new users of biologic agents or apremilast (ie, without any prescriptions of a biologic or apremilast during the previous year). Patients with HIV infection or a history of cancer, transplant, or serious infection were excluded.

The primary end point was a serious infection in a time-to-event analysis using propensity score–weighted Cox proportional hazards regression models, estimating weighted hazard ratios (wHRs) and 95% CIs.

-- A total of 44?239 new users of biologic treatment were identified (mean age, 48.4 years; 22 866 men; median follow-up, 12 months).

-- A total of 29?618 (66.9%) were prescribed a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor first, 6658 (15.0%) an interleukin (IL) 12/23 inhibitor, 4093 (9.3%) an IL-17 inhibitor, 526 (1.2%) an IL-23 inhibitor, and 3344 (7.6%) apremilast.

-- The total number of serious infections was 1656, and the overall crude incidence rate was 25.0 per 1000 person-years.

-- The most frequent serious infections were gastrointestinal infections (645 patients).

-- After adjusting for time-dependent covariables, risk of serious infections was higher for new users of adalimumab or infliximab vs etanercept, whereas ustekinumab was associated with a lower risk of having a serious infection.

-- Risk of serious infections was not increased for new users of IL-17 and the IL-23 inhibitor guselkumab or apremilast vs etanercept.

-- Risk of serious infections was increased with concomitant nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or systemic corticosteroids.

Conclusively, in this cohort study of individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis, risk of serious infections was increased in new users of infliximab and adalimumab vs etanercept, whereas ustekinumab users had lower risk of having a serious infection but not new users of IL-17 and IL-23 inhibitors or apremilast. Other observational studies are needed to confirm results for the most recent drugs.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/2782062