Cutting-edge drug brepocitinib may hold the key to managing psoriatic arthritis, reveals recent Phase 2 trial.
Psoriatic arthritis patients may soon have an effective new treatment option. The drug brepocitinib has shown promising results in reducing psoriatic arthritis symptoms by 20%.
This could be a breakthrough for the one in three psoriasis sufferers who also suffer from psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.
How Brepocitinib Works
Brepocitinib, developed by Pfizer, is a Janus kinase inhibitor (JAKi) type medication. By inhibiting the immune response causing inflammation at the core of psoriatic arthritis, it could fill an important gap in current treatment options.
This is particularly relevant given the unmet need in decreasing disease activity, inducing remission, and improving health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and function for patients. The recent trial involved participants receiving the medication for a period of 52 weeks, with a primary focus on data collected by the four-month mark.
The placebo-controlled trial showed a 66.7% to 74.6% ACR20 response rate in patients receiving the medication, indicating a 20% reduction in symptoms for around two-thirds of participants.
Current treatment options like methotrexate carry significant side effects. The trial results are encouraging, but it’s worth noting that the majority of participants were white and located in Eastern Europe, which may limit the generalisability of the findings. Despite these limitations, the results show a significant reduction in symptoms, with risk factors and side effects aligning with similar research in the field.
Available Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis treatment demands a comprehensive, personalised strategy that focuses not just on symptom management, but also on slowing the disease progression, relieving pain, and protecting your skin and joints.
The complexity of psoriatic arthritis, affecting both skin and joints, often necessitates a team of specialists, including a rheumatologist for joint symptoms and a dermatologist for skin conditions.
Medication Forms an Integral Part of Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment.
This may include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, often effective for mild cases. Severe psoriatic arthritis may warrant biologics like TNF inhibitors or IL inhibitors.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), such as methotrexate, apremilast, and Janus kinase inhibitors, help curb inflammation damaging joints and skin. Corticosteroids may also be used for quick relief during disease flares, while topical treatments help manage skin plaques and nail changes.
Complementing medication, non-drug therapies like exercise play a pivotal role in treatment.
Regular physical activity alleviates pain and stiffness, improves mood and energy, and enhances overall health. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, and biking, strength training, and stretching make a balanced workout routine for patients. Low-impact activities like yoga and tai chi can also be beneficial. However, it’s advisable to consult a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new fitness regime. In addition, an occupational therapist can provide guidance on techniques to ease daily activities, making them less painful.
Coping with Psoriatic Arthritis: Building a Support Team
Living with psoriatic arthritis often necessitates the management of related health conditions. Those with psoriatic arthritis, like with psoriasis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis, are at a higher risk for certain ailments, notably cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
To manage this risk, it’s essential to undergo regular tests such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks annually. These routine assessments allow doctors to monitor for signs of CVD and provide additional treatment if necessary.
Self-management strategies also play a crucial role. Balancing rest and regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, and moderating alcohol consumption are all practical measures that can help keep associated conditions in check.
Your healthcare journey typically involves a multidisciplinary team. Beyond your GP and rheumatologist, your care team might also include:
- A specialist nurse: Typically, your first point of contact with your specialist care team.
- A dermatologist: Responsible for managing your psoriasis symptoms.
- A physiotherapist: Can create a tailored exercise plan to keep your joints mobile and pain-free.
- An occupational therapist: Can help identify challenges you face with everyday activities and develop strategies to overcome or manage them.
- A psychologist: Can provide psychological support, crucial for managing the mental health impacts of living with a chronic condition.
Managing psoriatic arthritis effectively involves both professional healthcare and personal lifestyle changes. Navigating this journey with a supportive and skilled team can significantly contribute to improved quality of life, enabling individuals to live fully despite the challenges psoriatic arthritis might pose.
- Mease, P., et al. (2023) Efficacy and Safety of Tyrosine Kinase 2/Janus Kinase 1 Inhibitor Brepocitinib for Active Psoriatic Arthritis: A Phase IIb Randomized Controlled Trial. Arthritis & Rheumatology. doi.org/10.1002/art.42519.
- Arthritis Foundation. (2022). Treatment Options for Psoriatic Arthritis.