Ixekizumab (Taltz) as a first treatment with biological drugs for active psoriatic arthritis in adults

In 2018, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of ixekizumab (trade name: Taltz) when compared with the standard treatment of active psoriatic arthritis in adults. The manufacturer provided a study involving people who didn't benefit enough from previous treatment with conventional DMARDs or who didn't tolerate it well and who were able to have treatment with biological drugs for the first time. The data of 107 patients could be used in the analysis: Half of the patients received ixekizumab for 6 months, and the other half had already been having treatment with the available drug adalimumab for quite a while. Both drugs were injected under the skin using a pre-filled pen. The following results were found:

What are the advantages of ixekizumab?

  • Enthesitis (inflammations at the site where tendons or ligaments attach to bones) and number of joints that were painful to the touch and swollen: According to preliminary analyses, the study suggests that ixekizumab has an advantage here. Ixekizumab relieved the symptoms better than adalimumab did.
  • Complete remission of psoriasis of the skin: Here too, the study suggests that ixekizumab has an advantage when compared with the standard treatment: 43 out of 100 people who received ixekizumab were (at least temporarily) symptom-free after 6 months, compared to only about 21 out of 100 people who received the standard treatment.

What are the disadvantages of ixekizumab?

  • Illness and problems during treatment: The study suggests that ixekizumab has a disadvantage here: About 33 out of 100 people in this group had probelms at the injection site, compared to only about 11 out of 100 people who had the standard treatment. 

No difference

  • Serious side effects: There was no difference here. About 7 to 8 out of 100 people in each group had severe side effects.
  • There was no difference between the treatments in terms of the following aspects either:
    • Disease activity
    • Physical functioning
    • Inflammation of the toe joints and finger joints
    • General health
    • Joint pain
    • Exhaustion
    • Health-related quality of life
    • Treatment stopped due to side effects
    • Infections and parasitic diseases

What remains unanswered?

  • The manufacturer did not provide any suitable data on the effect of ixekizumab on nail psoriasis.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Ixekizumab (psoriasis arthritis) – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V . Dossier assessment; Commission A18-14. May 30, 2018. (IQWiG reports; Volume 631).

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Created on June 28, 2018
Next planned update: 2021

Publisher:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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