NEW YORK, July 31 (Praxis Press) Patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have increased concentrations of tumor necrosis factor in their skin lesions and joints. Mease and colleagues studied psoriasis disease activity in 30 patients randomized to receive etanercept, an inhibitor of tumor necrosis factor, and in 30 patients randomized to receive placebo. After 12 weeks of treatment, the median improvements in psoriasis area and severity index scores were 46.2% for etanercept-treated patients and 8.7% for placebo-treated patients (P = 0.0032). Etanercept-treated patients with psoriatic arthritis were more likely to meet Psoriatic Arthritis Response Criteria (P < 0.0001) and American College of Rheumatology preliminary criteria for improvement (P < 0.0001). Rates of respiratory tract infection and injection site reaction were similar for the two groups. Etanercept may be a safe alternative to current drugs for the treatment of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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