Ustekinumab now available for Psoriatic Arthritis

Ustekinumab now available for Psoriatic Arthritis

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Back at the Australian Rheumatology Association’s Annual Scientific meeting. This time, in Darwin.

Four and a half days of presentations, networking, catching up with old friends and colleagues. It’s always collegial and friendly, as you would expect from a group of rheumatology professionals.

We’re nice people!

I always hope to pick up one or two nuggets of information that I can use in my practice straight away.

This Sunday, I was involved in a lunchtime symposium hosted by Janssen. We discussed a number of clinical scenarios with a theme of finding the right medication for the right patient.

The big news for us in Australia, and after a long time waiting, is the ability for rheumatologists to prescribe Ustekinumab (Stelara) for the treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis. Ustekinumab is now reimbursed by our Australian pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS).

Finally! A new biologic medication option for this often difficult-to-treat disease. I’ve written about the lack of options in psoriatic arthritis previously (read link).

Up until May 2016, our patients with psoriatic arthritis who did not respond to the conventional disease-modifying agents of Methotrexate, Sulphasalazine or Leflunomide, could use a number of biologics (if they met the appropriate criteria) which all fell into the same family with the same general mode of action.

TNF inhibition.

For many, this has been very helpful. But, not for all.

Ustekinumab (Stelara) blocks/inhibits a different molecule, IL12/23 and in turn, its effects work on a different chemical pathway.

So it’s an alternative solution.

One that’s welcomed.

I don’t have much experience at all with this medication. Just a handful of patients who’ve needed it on compassionate access due to doing quite poorly despite the use of a lot of other medications.

What’s your experience of Ustekinumab for psoriatic arthritis?

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