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03 September 2021

Cosentyx (Secukinumab) - NICE approves biologic to treat psoriasis in children and young people

Cosentyx (Secukinumab) has been recommended for the treatment of severe psoriasis in children and young people (aged 6 to 17 years) in England and Wales.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published its decision to recommend the biologic medicine, Cosentyx (also known by its generic name, Secukinumab), to treat severe plaque psoriasis in children and young people aged 6 to 17 years in England and Wales. Cosentyx is already used to treat both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in adults.

Cosentyx may be prescribed to treat psoriasis in children and young people aged 6 to 17 years only if:

  • The child/young person's psoriasis is severe, as defined by a total Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) of 10 or more and;
  • The child/young person's psoriasis has not responded to other systemic treatments, (including ciclosporin, methotrexate and phototherapy), or they cannot tolerate these treatments.

  • How does Cosentyx work?

    Cosentyx binds to a cytokine (chemical messenger) called interleukin-17A (IL-17A), which is involved in the body’s inflammatory and immune responses. There are higher levels of IL-17A in psoriatic plaques than in non-psoriatic skin. By binding to IL-17A, Cosentyx inhibits its action (i.e. stops it from working as it usually does). This means Cosentyx interrupts the inflammatory cycle of psoriasis, which can lead to the improvement in symptoms for many people who take it.

    Because of the effect Cosentyx has on the immune system, you will be monitored for infections throughout treatment, and you will be tested for latent (hidden) TB before starting treatment. People taking Cosentyx may need an annual flu jab, but should check with a doctor or nurse before having any other vaccinations or taking other medication.

    How is Cosentyx used?

    Cosentyx is taken as an injection under the skin, either via pre-filled syringe or pre-filled ‘pen' device, similar to people with diabetes. The dose can vary depending on the weight of the child or adolescent. Your Dermatologist, Paediatrician or Specialist Nurse will discuss your dose with you.

    Most people will be trained by a nurse to administer the injection themselves. In the first four weeks, your prescribed dose should be taken once, each week. After that, doses are taken monthly.

    People taking Cosentyx are likely to need regular blood tests - usually carried out by the Dermatology department, or by your own GP - to monitor for infections or other possible effects of the treatment.

    If an adequate response is not seen after 12 weeks of using Cosentyx, the treatment will be stopped.

    For more information on Cosentyx, have a read of our information sheet.