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08 August 2018

Taltz (Ixekizumab) - Psoriasis Biologic Approved for Psoriatic Arthritis

Taltz (Ixekizumab) gets NICE approval to treat psoriatic arthritis in England and Wales.

In 2017, the biologic medication Taltz (also known by its generic name, Ixekizumab), was approved for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis in England and Wales. 

Today, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published its decision to recommend Taltz as a treatment option for active psoriatic arthritis in adults in England and Wales. Taltz is recommended to treat psoriatic arthritis, either alone or with methotrexate, in the following circumstances:

  • The person has peripheral arthritis with three or more tender joints, and three or more swollen joints, and;
  • The person's psoriatic arthritis has not responded well to at least two standard disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), given either alone or in combination.
  • The person has had a biologic from the tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha inhibitor class (such as Adalimumab, Cimzia, EtanerceptInfliximab or Simponi) but their psoriatic arthritis has not responded within the first 12 weeks or has stopped responding after the first 12 weeks, or;
  • Biologics from the tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF)-alpha inhibitor class are contraindicated (should not be used in this case) but would otherwise be considered

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 and psoriatic arthritis, 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.