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20 October 2016

Otezla (Apremilast) - New Tablet Treatment for Psoriasis Approved by NICE

Otezla (Apremilast) is approved for the treatment of severe psoriasis in England and Wales.

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

Otezla is recommended as an option for treating chronic 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 other standard systemic treatments (including ciclosporin, methotrexate and PUVA) or they cannot tolerate these treatments.

This decision is the conclusion of a NICE Rapid Review and ensures that people with psoriasis in England and Wales join those in Scotland, where Otezla was approved for the treatment of plaque psoriasis by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) in June 2015.

Carla Renton, Information and Communications Manager at the Psoriasis Association remarked: “This decision is welcomed by the Psoriasis Association. People with psoriasis have a chronic and complex condition that can have a profound effect on quality of life and mental wellbeing, as well as physical health. An increase in the choice of treatment options for people with psoriasis is invaluable in helping them regain control of their condition and of their day to day lives.”

How does Otezla work?

It is not known exactly how Otezla works in psoriasis. However, it is known that Otezla inhibits (i.e. stops it from working as it usually does) an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase 4, or PDE4. PDE4 controls the inflammatory action within a cell, which can affect the level of inflammation associated with psoriasis. Helping to control this inflammation can lead to an improvement in symptoms for people with psoriasis.

How is Otezla used?

Otezla is taken orally in tablet form twice a day. The dose is gradually increased over the first five days, until the patient is taking the full 30mg twice a day from day six onwards.

Otezla can be taken on its own, or with methotrexate.

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