Apremilast, an oral phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, improves patient-reported outcomes in the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis: results of two phase III randomized, controlled trials

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Apremilast, an oral phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, has an acceptable safety profile and is effective for treatment of plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.


To evaluate the impact of apremilast on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), general functioning and mental health using patient-reported outcome (PRO) assessments among patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in the ESTEEM 1 and 2 trials.


A total of 1255 patients were randomized (2: 1) to apremilast 30 mg BID or placebo for 16 weeks; all received apremilast through Week 32. PRO assessments included the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey version 2 mental/physical component summary scores (SF-36v2 MCS/PCS), Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ-8), EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) and Work Limitations Questionnaire-25 (WLQ-25). Post hoc analyses examined relationships between Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores and PHQ-8 in the apremilast-treated population at Week 16.


Treatment with apremilast improved all HRQOL PROs at Week 16 (vs. placebo), except the SF-36v2 PCS, and improvements were sustained through Week 32. Mean DLQI and SF-36v2 MCS improvements exceeded minimal clinically important differences. Changes at Week 16 in PHQ-8 and PASI were weakly correlated, and only 35.8% of patients who achieved a ≥75% reduction from baseline in PASI score (PASI-75) with apremilast treatment also achieved PHQ-8 scores of 0–4.


Apremilast led to improvements in HRQOL PROs vs. placebo in patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

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