Alefacept - Revolutionizing psoriasis therapy

Robin R. Blum, Vicky K. Wong, Mark Lebwohl

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Current therapies for psoriasis are inconvenient to use and are associated with potential side effects. Moreover, they also provide only minimal periods of relief from the pain, pruritus, arthritis and psychosocial effects that this debilitating dermatologic condition. Alefacept (Amevive™) is the first biologically-engineered drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. This unique therapeutic agent selectively targets T-cell-mediated activity in the immune response that causes the inflammatory pathogenesis of psoriasis. Administered once weekly by either intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection, clinical trials of alefacept have shown that this agent provides significant relief of psoriatic symptoms as measured by two principal objective measures of treatment efficacy, the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and Physical Global Assessment (PGA). Additionally, PASI scores continue to improve for a mean of 8 weeks after discontinuation of alefacept treatment, often followed by an additional extended period of disease remission (lack of return of psoriatic plaques). Study results have also shown that a subsequent second course of alefacept therapy can often provide further additional clinical benefit. More than hall of all patients who initially achieved ≥75% reduction in PASI score after two courses of IV treatment maintained >50% improvement nearly one year after receiving the first dose of alefacept, and similarly high rates of response have been observed with LM administration. Long-term quality-of-life benefits, and apparent improvement in associated arthritis symptoms, have also been reported in controlled clinical trials of alefacept. This important new therapeutic option for the treatment of psoriasis is well tolerated, with any adverse effects generally being mild and similar in incidence to those seen in placebo-treated patients. Alefacept provides long-lasting remission of plaque psoriasis, with a median duration of response of 7 months, and offers patients the opportunity to achieve prolonged disease-free living as well as a substantially improved quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalToday's Therapeutic Trends
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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