Interleukin-17 Inhibitor in Treatment of Psoriasis during COVID-19 Pandemic: An Ambispective Study
Dr. Rajkumar Kannan,
Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai-600003, Tamil Nadu, India.
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Introduction: Psoriasis is a genetically mediated chronic inflammatory disease that is frequently associated with metabolic co-morbidities. These metabolic co-morbidities have a huge impact in deciding the appropriate immunosupressant of choice in the current scenario of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Treatment of psoriasis especially with biologicals is challenging during covid pandemic, since immunosuppressive therapy might interfere with antiviral immunity.
Aim: To report the safety profile of Interleukin-17 (IL-17) inhibitor, namely injection secukinumab in patients of psoriasis vulgaris during COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: An ambispective interventional study was performed on 23 patients of psoriasis who were administered secukinumab at a dose of 300 mg subcutaneously during COVID-19 pandemic. The study was conducted at the Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, among the patients attending the psoriasis clinic between the July 2021 to March 2022. The demographic characteristics of the study group, previous treatment for psoriasis and the relationship between risk of COVID-19 infection and secukinumab were noted. Efficacy of secukinumab was calculated using Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores. Statistical analysis was conducted with Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) statistics software version 21.0 by Fischer’s-exact test.
Results: Out of 23 patients, 17 patients (11 males, six females) completed full course of nine doses (five weekly doses followed by four monthly doses) of secukinumab. The PASI 75 and PASI 90 were achieved in 9 (52.94%) and 5 (29.41%) patients respectively at the end of 12 weeks. None of the patients developed COVID-19 infection during the course of treatment and three months following therapy. Patients with psoriasis who had a history of COVID-19 infection did not show signs of reinfection when started on secukinumab. Both inactivated vaccine (Covaxin) and vector based vaccine (Covishield) were found to be safe in concomitant use with secukinumab.
Conclusion: Secukinumab is found to be safe and effective in psoriasis treatment during COVID-19 pandemic. There is no increased risk of COVID-19 infection or reinfection, COVID-19 associated hospitalisation and mortality among patients with psoriasis administered with secukinumab. The drug can also be safely used with COVID-19 vaccines.