Otezla, also known as Apremilast, is a newly approved oral medication for psoriatic arthritis. It works by blocking an enzyme in the phosphodiesterase 4 pathway in the cell. Mid 2013 the medication Stelara, also known as Ustekinumab, was also approved for psoriatic arthritis. It works by blocking interleukin 12 and 23 cytokines. Both these medications are good treatments, but compared to the other strong existing meds for psoriatic arthritis, TNF blockers, the results don’t seem quite as robust in regards to percentage of people who will achieve 20%, 50%, and 70% reduction in joint pain. So what do these new meds mean for people with psoriatic arthritis?
For starters, new options like Otezla and Stelara for our patients are always appreciated. We truly live in a golden age in regards to biologic treatments for inflammatory arthritis conditions. There are new treatment options being released every year. We can offer more options to our patients than ever before.
The newer options also work differently than the existing ones. That’s exciting because not everyone responds to the existing treatments, so new treatments that work by different mechanisms of action mean individuals who are not adequately improving, still have a chance to get better.
Lastly, our expectations for treatment results have dramatically improved over the last 15 years. We can honestly aim for remission or close to it with treatment now. We definitely aim to get people back to their usual level of activity, work, and other life activities. The newer options for psoriatic arthritis are not magical cures, but they continue to move us in the right direction for our patients.