Do Biologic Therapies Affect the Elderly Differently?

Treating psoriasis with a systemic biologic therapy is increasingly the standard course of treatment, but little is known about how these therapies affect the elderly. Elderly patients are frequently excluded from biological clinical trials and simply described as a high-risk group for adverse events. This has led to a lack of information about safety and effectiveness in this population.

A recent multicenter retrospective study described the experiences of 266 patients ages 65 and above, who used biologic therapy (etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, golimumab, certolizumab pegol, ustekinumab or secukinumab) to treat psoriasis. The study evaluated efficacy using the validated Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and also collected reports of adverse effects from these treatments.

The results showed that in the study population, all biologics for psoriasis showed a great efficacy. The rate of adverse effects mirrored those seen in younger patients. There were 25 total adverse events that included 12 infections and four malignancies.

The authors conclude that based on these results, age alone should not limit therapeutic options, but more studies using multiple data sources is recommended to evaluate long-term effectiveness and safety for elderly psoriatic patients.

[Image: Yakobchuk Viacheslav /]