Psoriasis patients using the anti-inflammatory drug Remicade (infliximab) who switched to an infliximab biosimilar had no significant change in clinical response or reported adverse events, researches investigating the medication changed reported.
The article, “The infliximab biosimilar in the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis,” was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The patent on the infliximab originator therapy, Janssen Biologics’s Remicade, recently expired, and the production of biosimilar drugs has begun. Infliximab is a therapeutic monoclonal antibody used to manage inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis. The approval of biosimilars for psoriasis was mostly based on evidence of these drugs’ efficacy in other diseases.
In this study, researchers at the University of Turin and the Medical University of Vienna sought to investigate the efficacy of Remsima (by Celltrion), an infliximab biosimilar, in patients with psoriasis. The patients were evaluated in two groups, with one batch of 30 people switching from Remicade to Remsima, and five patients in the other group, all infliximab-naïve who had failed at one or more prior therapies, starting on the infliximab biosimilar. Disease activity was measured objectively using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI), and subjectively though the visual analog pain scale.
No changes were observed in PASI and visual analog pain scale scores in the 30 patients who switched from Remicade to Remsima. In the infliximab-naïve group, four out of the five patients who started treatment with Remsima achieved 75% improvement or better from baseline in their PASI scores at the end of the induction phase (week 10). The results suggest that the switch from Remicade to a biosimilar drug does not affect the efficacy of treatment in people with psoriasis.
The only reported adverse event was one case of herpes zoster during follow-up, which was successfully treated. Median follow-up time for the study was 23 weeks.
“Despite the limitations of our study (low sample size, limited follow-up time), we conclude that the infliximab biosimilar is an appealing treatment choice for patients affected by plaque psoriasis,” the researchers wrote, according to a press release. “Considering possible price differences between the originator and biosimilar, its use might help lower health care spending.”