Drug for psoriasis may also relieve depression and fatigue linked to the disease

December 14, 2005

A drug used to treat the clinical symptoms of psoriasis may also relieve fatigue and depression associated with the disease, concludes a randomised trial published online today (Thursday December 15, 2005) by The Lancet.

Psoriasis has substantial psychological and emotional effects. Ranga Krishnan (Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA) and colleagues looked at the effect of etanercept, an effective treatment for the clinical symptoms of psoriasis, on fatigue and symptoms of depression.

The team recruited over 600 patients with moderate to severe psoriasis from centers in the US and Canada; half received twice weekly doses of the drug for 12 weeks and half received placebo for 12 weeks. They found that etanercept reduced the severity of psoriasis to a much greater extent than placebo. 47% of patients on the drug achieved a 75% or greater improvement from baseline in a psoriasis area and severity index score, compared with only 5% on placebo. Furthermore, patients who were assigned etanercept had a 50% improvement in a commonly used rating scale for depression when compared to those on placebo. Patients taking the drug also had significant improvements on a scale that assesses fatigue than those on placebo.

Professor Krishnan states: "Etanercept treatment might relieve fatigue and symptoms of depression associated with this chronic disease."

See also accompanying comment.
Dr K. Ranga R Krishnan
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University Medical Center
Box 3950
Durham, NC 27710

T) 919-684-5616, krish001@acpub.duke.edu


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