PRESS RELEASE – Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that affects around 140 million people worldwide. It’s more frequent between the ages of 15 and 25, but may develop at any age and highly impacts the quality of life.
Several types of psoriasis exist, which range from mild to severe and disabling. Plaque psoriasis is the most common form and is known for producing inflammation and scaly patches of thickened skin called “plaques”. It is caused due to a problem in the immunologic system, where white blood cells that normally become activated to fight infections, are in this case activated against the healthy skin cells.
The cause of the disease is unknown. The immunologic system is activated and produces inflammatory mediators which are responsible for the skin lesions.
During this process, white blood cells release chemical products called “cytokines”, which produce inflammation, reddening of the skin and make the cutaneous cells move from deeper skin layer to surface at a higher speed than normal, (almost 5 times).
These cells accumulate and generate the scaly patches. Psoriatic lesions show the aspect of scales, sometimes with a white silver color, while the skin below is red and if scratched it can bleed. Two specific cytokines are increased in the pathogenesis of psoriasis and produce the inflammatory process of the disease (Interleukin 12 and Interleukin 23).
Ustekinumab is a monoclonal antibody that represents the first of a new class of psoriasis therapies that specifically and selectively targets IL-12/IL-23.
Ustekinumab is now available in the Caribbean, specifically in Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao and Jamaica.[i] Ustekinumab is commercialized under the brand Stelara™.
This therapeutic alternative is the latest generation of psoriasis treatment. With over 3,000 treated patients (in clinical trials) up to 5 years of treatment. The data obtained proves that the treatment is well tolerated and safe.
Clinical trials demonstrated that at least two thirds of the patients obtained a 75% improvement of the psoriasis, in accordance with the Psoriasis Activity Severity Index (PASI 75), after only two doses of Ustekinumab. This innovative treatment has a very convenient dosage regimen when compared with other biological therapies for psoriasis. After 5 years, approximately 80% of the patients treated with Ustekinumab maintain response.
Until recent years, psoriasis was considered a disease limited to the skin. Recent evidence, from important population studies in psoriatic patients, has demonstrated an increase in mortality and a decrease in life expectancy between 3 to 4 years in patients with psoriasis.
On the other hand, the impact of psoriasis notably influences the quality of life, and this is reflected in the increase of different social and psychoactive pathologies, and in the acquisition of unhealthy habits like tobacco and alcohol, favored by low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and the isolation which patients feel subjected to.[ii]
“Ustekinumab significantly improves the quality of life of patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, as well as their physical and mental functions. After 12 weeks of treatment, patients treated with Ustekinumab present a significant improvement in their mental well-being and their physical condition”, affirmed Dr. Eduardo Franco; Janssen’s Medical Director for Central America and the Caribbean.
The itching and pain, the plaques in their hands and feet may hinder the performance of certain tasks or participation in some activities. Overtime, about 40% of psoriatic patients develop arthritis. “The most severe cases of psoriasis may even generate immobility of the patient. Some patients compare the reduction of their physical activities to the ones generated by other diseases as cancer or heart diseases”, pointed out Dr. Jose Antonio Herrera, Immunology Medical Manager for Janssen.
Janssen is a Company dedicated to the research of providing innovative products that help protect and improve the life of people, and face and solve the most important and unresolved medical needs of our times, in the areas of oncology, immunology, neurosciences and infectious, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
Across the different companies of the Johnson & Johnson group, our people are united in the passionate pursuit of solutions through science, in benefit of the patients.
Present in over 50 countries, we share the commitment of the founders of the Company, of innovating in ideas, products and services for the patients of the whole world.