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Live Blog: Product Theater for Celgene: “Otezla: An Oral PDE4 Inhibitor for Plaque Psoriasis.” Faculty: Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C

In this live blog from the Annual Fall SDPA Conference in Orlando, FL, Risha Bellomo, MPAS, PA-C, presented product theater for Celgene called “Otezla: An Oral PDE4 Inhibitor for Plaque Psoriasis.” Here are some of the highlights.

Ms. Bellomo introduced us to Otezla: a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis for whom phototherapy or systemic therapy is appropriate. Otezla is also a treatment for adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis.

Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that appears on the skin and occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. Plaque psoriasis appears on the skin as raised, red patches covered with a silvery buildup of dead skin cells. These patches can be itchy and painful. Plaques most often will appear on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. Of the 75 million people in the United States living with psoriasis, 80% have plaque psoriasis.

Psoriasis can be found on the hands, feet, eyelids, ears, mouth and lips, and skin folds. Psoriasis can be a challenge to treat because outbreaks are often unpredictable. In a survey conducted from 2003-2011, 52% of patients being treated with psoriasis reported being dissatisfied with their treatment.

Psoriatic arthritis occurs when tissue surrounding the joint thickens and swells due to inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis commonly appears in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years. There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis.

Otezla is an oral pill patients take once in the morning and once at night. Bellomo explained that in previous studies of the biopsies of psoriasis samples, high levels of PDE4 were found. As an oral pill, Otezla works from inside the body to inhibit PDE4 in the affected cells. For psoriatic arthritic patients, this process decreases joint swelling and tenderness, ideally returning greater physical mobility back to patients.

In a clinical trial of Otezla, approximately 1 out of 3 patients taking Otezla saw 75% clearer skin after 4 months. Otezla reduced redness, thickness, and scaliness of plaque psoriasis.

Bellomo shared the study’s results of adverse reactions for patients taking Otezla. In a clinical trial, 1.3% reported depression compared to 0.4% on a placebo. Bellomo emphasized communicating with patients about their emotional health before prescribing any medication. Additionally, Bellomo encouraged health care providers to communicate with their patients about possible weight loss. Some study participants lost up to 10% of their body weight while taking Otezla. In one study, body weight loss of  ≤ 10% occurred in 2% of patients treated with Otezla compared to 1% of patients treated with a placebo.

Bellomo shared that other adverse reactions taking Otezla can include diarrhea, nausea, upper respiratory tract infection, tension headache, abdominal pain and vomiting.

Further information on Otezla by Celgene can be found at

Image: Martin Fisch

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