Psoriasis treatment may combat accompanying depression

January 3, 2006

Houston -- Enbrel (etanercept, Immunex), a tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) inhibitor that relieves the clincal symptoms of psoriasis, may also work to combat the depression and fatigue common among those who suffer from the disease.

Houston -- Enbrel (etanercept, Immunex), a tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) inhibitor that relieves the clincal symptoms of psoriasis, may also work to combat the depression and fatigue common among those who suffer from the disease.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center here have completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial, one of the findings of which concludes that 55 percent of patients taking Enbrel had significant reductions from baseline in symptoms of depression after 12 weeks of therapy. This compared with 39 percent of patients who took a placebo. The study was published online recently by The Lancet.

Enbrel is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating symptoms of psoriasis as well as psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

The study randomized 618 patients with mild-to-severe psoriasis; twice weekly for 12 weeks, half were given a placebo, the other half 50 mg of Enbrel. Outcomes included significant reduction in symptoms of depression and fatigue, as measured by the Beck depression inventory (BDI), the Hamilton rating scale for depression (Ham-D) and the functional assessment of chronic illness therapy fatigue (FACIT-F) scale.

The researchers noted that their study was not designed to detect a treatment effect on primary depression, adding that in order to do so it would be necessary to examine patients who did not have psoriasis but had been diagnosed with depression and given Enbrel.

The study was funded by Immunex, which markets Enbrel.