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10 March 2017

Taltz (Ixekizumab) - New Biologic Treatment Approved for Psoriasis

NICE has recommended Taltz (Ixekizumab) for the treatment of severe psoriasis.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published its decision to recommend the biologic medication Taltz (also known by its generic name, Ixekizumab) as a treatment option for adults with severe plaque psoriasis in England and Wales.

Taltz is recommended as an option for treating plaque psoriasis in adults, only if:

  • The person's psoriasis is severe, as defined by a total Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) of 10 or more and a Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) of more than 10
  • The person's psoriasis has not responded to standard systemic treatments (including ciclosporin, methotrexate and PUVA) or they cannot tolerate these treatments.

How does Taltz work?

Taltz 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, Taltz inhibits its action (ie. stops it from working as it usually does). This means Taltz interrupts the inflammatory cycle of psoriasis, which can lead to the improvement in symptoms for many people who take it.

Because of the effect Taltz 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 Taltz 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 Taltz used?

Taltz is taken as an injection under the skin, either via pre-filled syringe or pre-filled ‘pen device. Most people will be trained by a nurse to administer the injection themselves. A Taltz syringe or ‘pen’ holds 80mg, but the recommended first dose is 160mg, meaning two injections should be taken. After this initial dose, people will usually have 80mg (one injection) every other week, at weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. After this, people usually have one 80mg injection every four weeks.

People taking Taltz are likely to need regular blood tests - usually carried out by a Dermatology Nurse or by their 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 Taltz, the treatment may be stopped.

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