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Heart protection from psoriasis drugs

Thursday February 7th, 2019

Treating patients for severe psoriasis also helps reduce their cardiovascular disease risk, researchers have reported.

Dr Nehal Mehta of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and colleagues, investigated the heart impact of anti-inflammatory biologic drugs for severe psoriasis.

They explain that, in addition to its effect on the skin, psoriasis brings a significantly higher risk of heart disease, perhaps due to widespread inflammation throughout the body.

Anti-inflammatory biologic therapy, which is prescribed for psoriasis when topical treatments or phototherapy haven’t worked, appears to have a positive effect on the coronary arteries.

Dr Mehta’s team found that after giving 121 patients biologic therapy for a year, they had an average 8% reduction in “total and non-calcified coronary plaque burden”, which can cause heart attacks. They compare the effect to that of a low dose statin.

The study was published in Cardiovascular Research.

Dr Mehta says: “Our findings suggest treating the psoriasis may potentially benefit coronary heart disease. We found that these anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used to treat severe psoriasis also improve plaque in the coronary artery, making them more stable and less likely to cause a heart attack.

"This occurred in the absence of changes in traditional cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure and blood lipids.”

He added: “This preliminary study provides the first evidence that biologic therapy is associated with coronary plaque reduction and stabilisation, and provides strong rationale for conduct of a randomised trial testing the impact of biologic therapy on the progression of coronary disease in patients with psoriasis.”

Elnabawi, Y. A. et al. Coronary artery plaque characteristics and treatment with biologic therapy in severe psoriasis: results from a prospective observational study. Cardiovascular Research 5 February 2019; doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvz009

Tags: Dermatology | Heart Health | North America | Pharmaceuticals

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