Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated disease associated with several co-morbidities and negative impacts on a patient’s quality of life. Despite the advances in biologic therapy, there are still unmet needs in the treatment of psoriasis, as current treatments are limited in terms of long-term efficacy, tolerability, safety, route of administration, and cost. Apremilast is an oral, small-molecule phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor that works intracellularly by blocking the degradation of cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate, resulting in increased intracellular cyclic adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate levels in phosphodiesterase 4-expressing cells. This inhibition results in the reduced expression of proinflammatory mediators, and an increased expression of anti-inflammatory mediators, providing apremilast with an anti-inflammatory rather than immunosuppressive mode of action. Apremilast offers a novel therapeutic option for patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and may fulfill some of the unmet needs in patients with psoriasis. Potential advantages of apremilast include moderate activity for both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and efficacy in difficult-to-treat forms of psoriasis, a good safety profile, no need of laboratory prescreening or ongoing monitoring for laboratory parameters, owing to the absence of organ toxicity, a potentially advantageous weight loss effect, and a convenient oral administration and dosing. Cost effectiveness and health economics considerations will be decisive in determining the ultimate place of apremilast in the therapeutic armamentarium for psoriasis.
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Conflict of interest
Tiago Torres has participated in clinical trials sponsored by AbbVie, Amgen, and Novartis and has received honoraria for acting as a consultant and/or as a speaker at events sponsored by AbbVie, Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, LeoPharma, MSD, Novartis, and Pfizer. Luis Puig has received consulting fees, speaking fees, and honoraria from AbbVie, Almirall, Amgen, Baxalta, Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, Gebro, Janssen, Leo-Pharma, Lilly, Merck-Serono, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Regeneron, Roche, Sandoz, and Sun Pharma. His institution has received research funding in relationship to the treatment of psoriasis from AbbVie, Amgen, Janssen, Lilly, Novartis, and Pfizer.
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Torres, T., Puig, L. Apremilast: A Novel Oral Treatment for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Am J Clin Dermatol 19, 23–32 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40257-017-0302-0