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08 August 2016

Cosentyx (Secukinumab) Approved for Psoriatic Arthritis in Scotland

The biologic medication has been approved by the SMC for the treatment of adults with psoriatic arthritis in Scotland.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has today published its decision to recommend the biologic medication Cosentyx (also known by its generic name, Secukinumab) as a treatment option for active psoriatic arthritis in adults in Scotland.

Cosentyx is recommended to treat psoriatic arthritis, either alone or in combination with methotrexate, in adults whose psoriatic arthritis has not responded to at least two standard disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) given either individually or in combination.

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 (ie. stops it from working as it usually does). This means Cosentyx 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 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 diabetes patients. A syringe or ‘pen’ holds 150 milligrams, but the recommended dose is 300 milligrams, meaning two injections should be taken at each dose. In the first four weeks, one dose (two syringes or ‘pens’) should be taken each week. After that, doses are taken monthly. Most people will be trained by a nurse to administer the injection themselves.

People taking Cosentyx are likely to need regular blood tests - usually carried out by Dermatology or Rheumatology Nurses, 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 Cosentyx, the treatment will be stopped.

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