Etanercept effective in treating psoriasis in children

January 21, 2008

The adult drug, Etanercept (Enbrel), significantly improves moderate to severe symptoms of psoriasis in children under 17, HealthDay News reports.

National report

- The adult drug, Etanercept (Enbrel), significantly improves moderate to severe symptoms of psoriasis in children under 17, HealthDay News reports.

The study, which was published in the January issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked 211 participants. Among children ages 4-17 who received the drug for 12 weeks, 57 percent showed at least a 75 percent improvement in disease severity scores compared with 11 percent improvement in those receiving a placebo, according to WebWire.

Etanercept is a tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNF). People with psoriasis naturally have too much TNF, so the drug successfully reduces the amount of TNF and the symptoms of psoriasis. Immune system response to infection, however, can also be lowered with the medication, HealthDay News reports.

Researchers say the drug positively impacted the quality of life of the kids who participated. However, there is no FDA-approved drug available to treat children with psoriasis. Amgen, which markets Etanercept, is currently seeking FDA approval. If granted, a long-term, controlled safety and efficacy study would still need to be done.