How Otezla® (apremilast) works

How Otezla® (apremilast) works


Otezla® (apremilast) is 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 approved for the treatment of adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis. If you want to learn about the science behind Otezla, you are in the right place. Otezla is not an injection, it’s not a cream either Otezla is different. It’s a prescription pill that treats plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. And it’s the only PDE4 inhibitor of its kind to help treat symptoms of these conditions. Before we get into the science behind Otezla, let’s start with some facts and figures. Did you know that the most common auto-immune disease in the United States is Psoriasis As many as 7.5M Americans are living with it, that’s a lot of people Plaque psoriasis is associated with overactive inflammation inside the body. It’s kind of like a shower faucet that’s turning too far to the hot side of things, dialing the inflammation way up. Over time, this overactive inflammation is thought to speed up the growth cycle of skin cells, and these skin cells eventually build up, appearing as red, raised plaques on the skin. When those skin cells die, they can take on the silvery and scaly characteristic of psoriasis. Now, let’s talk about psoriatic arthritis, another auto-immune disease. Up to 30% of people with psoriasis, also develop psoriatic arthritis. As many as 1M people in the United States suffer from it. With this condition, that overactive inflammation; there goes that shower again; can effect joints and tendons in the toes, fingers, knees, heels and other parts of the body. Over time, this can lead to tenderness, swelling, and pain which can make daily activities, such as getting dressed or even holding a pen, more difficult. And that’s where Otezla comes in. While the exact way in which Otezla helps improve the symptoms of plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is not completely understood, we do know that Otezla works inside inflammatory cells. So, let’s go inside one. Lab research suggests that PDE4, that’s an enzyme inside the inflammatory cell, can contribute to the overactive inflammation we have been talking about. Otezla works inside inflammatory cells to reduce PDE4 activity. By reducing PDE4 activity, Otezla is thought to help reduce inflammation. See? Otezla is different. For people with psoriasis, less inflammation can mean fewer skin cells piling up. And for people with psoriatic arthritis, less inflammation can mean less swelling, tenderness, and joint pain, so they can get back to the things they love. And that’s a look at the science behind how Otezla works. Remember, Otezla is the only PDE4 inhibitor approved by the FDA to treat appropriate patients with plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. You must not take Otezla if you are allergic to apremilast or to any of the ingredients in Otezla. Otezla can cause severe diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, especially within the first few weeks of treatment. Use in elderly patients and the use of certain medications with Otezla appears to increase the risk of having diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Tell your doctor if any of these conditions occur. Otezla is associated with an increase in depression. In clinical studies, some patients reported depression, or suicidal behavior while taking Otezla. Some patients stopped taking Otezla due to depression. Before starting Otezla, tell your doctor if you have had feelings of depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior. Be sure to tell your doctor if any of these symptoms or other mood changes develop or worsen during treatment with Otezla. Some patients taking Otezla lost body weight. Your doctor should monitor your weight regularly. If unexplained or significant weight loss occurs, your doctor will decide if you should continue taking Otezla. Some medicines may make Otezla less effective, and should not be taken with Otezla. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines. Side effects of Otezla include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, upper respiratory tract infection, runny nose, sneezing, or congestion, abdominal pain, tension headache, and headache. These are not all the possible side effects with Otezla. Ask your doctor about other potential side effects. Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or planning to breastfeed. Otezla has not been studied in pregnant women or in women who are breastfeeding. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-332-1088 Please read the Full Prescribing Information for Otezla.

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