Ixekizumab was more effective than both etanercept and placebo for improving psoriasis, according to results of phase 3 trials published in The Lancet.

The trials included 2,500 patients with psoriasis. Participants were randomized to ixekizumab every 2 weeks, ixekizumab every 4 weeks, etanercept, or placebo. The researchers measured improvements using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index during a 12-week follow-up period.

Participants in both ixekizumab groups showed quicker and more significant improvement compared with those in both the placebo and etanercept groups. Some participants on ixekizumab showed significant improvement as early as week 4, and 71% showed a high level of improvement in symptoms by week 12.

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“What we saw in this trial was not just the physical aspects of the disease clearing up, but people on the new drug also reporting a marked improvement in their quality of life as they felt more confident and suffered less from itching – far more than in the other two groups,” researcher Chris Griffiths, MD, of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, said in a press release.

Ixekizumab is a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the effects of the interleukin (IL) protein (IL)-17A, which is one of the causes of the red, scaly plaques that are characteristic of psoriasis.

“The objective for treating psoriasis has been to reduce the visible symptoms,” Dr. Griffiths said. “But new drugs are fast showing us that a realistic goal for all patients should be attaining clear skin and this trial very much sets us on that path.”


  1. Griffiths CEM et al. The Lancet. 2015; doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60125-8.