NPF says FDA approval of new psoriasis drug signals new era of care

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 31, 2003 The National Psoriasis Foundation issued a statement today in support of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of the first biologic drug to treat psoriasis. The FDA has approved Biogen's alefacept (brand name Amevive) to treat moderate to severe psoriasis.

"The Food and Drug Administration's approval of Amevive, is a significant step forward for the psoriasis community," said Gail Zimmerman, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "This drug represents the emergence of a new class of treatment that represents the most significant advance in psoriasis care in 20 years."

While there are multiple treatments available for the more than 4.5 million adults with psoriasis in the United States, many people have not been able to find satisfactory relief and are in urgent need of additional treatment options, added Zimmerman. Today's psoriasis treatments--some of which were developed to treat other diseases--don't work equally well for everyone, experts at the Psoriasis Foundation agree. In addition, some also have the potential for side effects, which limits their use.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Psoriasis Foundation, 75 percent of people with moderate to severe psoriasis said that their psoriasis is a large problem in their life. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed say they don't use more aggressive therapies to treat their disease because of side effects and lack of effectiveness.

"Amevive was designed to block and eliminate cells involved in psoriasis. Its effects have provided long-term therapeutic results for many patients. More importantly, at this point the drug is not associated with any significant adverse events," said Gerald Krueger, M.D., a professor of dermatology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and chairman of the Psoriasis Foundation's Medical Advisory Board.

As a new class of treatment for people with psoriasis and psoriatic

Contact: Molly Marshall
National Psoriasis Foundation

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