Healthcare Industry News:  infliximab 

Biopharmaceuticals Dermatology

 News Release - February 2, 2007

REMICADE(R) Therapy Shown to Improve Productivity in Patients Treated for Chronic Plaque Psoriasis

Analysis from Pivotal Phase 3 Trial Underscores Impact of Psoriasis on Work and Daily Activities

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Investigators reported today at the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting that patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis receiving REMICADE® (infliximab) induction and maintenance therapy experienced significant improvements in productivity at week 10, which were sustained through week 50. After 10 weeks, patients receiving REMICADE 3 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg achieved significant improvements in work and daily activities (2.9 and 3.1, respectively, from baseline) compared to little to no improvement (a mean decrease of 0.1) among placebo-treated patients (P < 0.001), as measured by the Productivity Visual Analogue Scale. Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder characterized by raised, inflamed, red lesions, or plaques, which can cause physical pain and emotional distress. It is estimated that as many as 7.5 million people in the U.S. have psoriasis,(1) which can present in various forms and can range from mild to severe and disabling.

"These findings show a relationship between the significant improvements REMICADE-treated patients experienced in psoriasis and improvements in productivity," said Steven Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology, pathology and public health sciences, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University. "Such analyses offer further insight into the impact of this chronic inflammatory disease on patient productivity and the effect of intervening with an appropriate biologic treatment, like REMICADE. We look forward to further studies to identify the economic implications of such productivity analyses in a real-world setting."

In the Evaluation of infliximab for Psoriasis in a [REMICADE] Efficacy and Safety Study (EXPRESS II), REMICADE-treated patients demonstrated a statistically significant productivity increase of 2.9 and 3.1 in the 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg groups, respectively, from baseline compared with a mean decrease of 0.1 with placebo as measured by the Productivity Visual Analogue Scale (P < 0.001). The Productivity Visual Analogue Scale is a 10-cm scale with a score of zero indicating very impaired productivity and a score of 10 indicating no impairment. Baseline productivity scores among the REMICADE 3 mg/kg, REMICADE 5 mg/kg and placebo groups were comparable at 5.7, 5.6 and 5.6, respectively, indicating impaired productivity.

Increased productivity scores paralleled significant improvements in the role-physical domain (RP) and role-emotional domain (RE) scores of SF-36, an eight-domain questionnaire widely used to assess patient health-related quality of life. In EXPRESS II, at baseline, RP scores in the REMICADE 3 mg/kg, REMICADE 5 mg/kg and placebo groups were relatively low compared with the general population (47.5, 46.6 and 44.8, respectively). At week 10, significant mean increases of 4.1 and 5.1 were reported in the REMICADE 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg groups, respectively, compared with little increase (0.8) in the placebo group (P < 0.001). At baseline, RE scores were 47.4, 47.8, and 46.4, respectively. At week 10, significant mean increases of 4.8 and 4.4 were reported in the REMICADE 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg groups, respectively, compared with little increase (0.9) in the placebo group (P < 0.001).

At 14 weeks, patients in the REMICADE 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg induction groups were randomized to receive scheduled treatment every eight weeks or "as-needed" maintenance therapy with REMICADE. Improvement in productivity scores was better maintained in the scheduled dosing groups versus the as-needed dosing group. The greatest productivity improvement through week 50 was seen in the REMICADE 5 mg/kg every-eight-week maintenance group. Additionally, placebo patients who transitioned to REMICADE treatment at week 16 also achieved improvements in productivity through week 50.

Psoriasis is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30, striking in the prime of people's lives, and the extent of skin involvement varies from mild to severe and disabling. People with severe psoriasis may have large areas of their body covered by lesions, which may crack and bleed. The pain and embarrassment associated with such skin lesions may prevent people from participating in social and work-related activities, and the physical and mental effects of psoriasis have been compared to those of other chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and depression. Skin lesions associated with psoriasis often result in feelings of sadness, despair, guilt and anger, as well as in low self-esteem. A person's sense of self-worth can be affected, and in some cases, this emotional turmoil can lead to depression.

"This research further illustrates the correlation and impact of psoriasis on work productivity and demonstrates the substantial physical and emotional burdens faced by those living with this life-altering disease," says Gail Zimmerman, president and CEO, National Psoriasis Foundation. "We at the National Psoriasis Foundation encourage continued research and stress the importance of access to effective therapies, which may help manage a disease that often interferes with work and life activities."

In September 2006, REMICADE was approved in the U.S. for the treatment of adult patients with chronic severe (i.e. extensive and/or disabling) plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy and when other systemic therapies are medically less appropriate. The recommended dose is an infusion of 5 mg/kg followed by additional doses at two and six weeks after the first infusion and then every eight weeks thereafter.

About EXPRESS II

The Evaluation of infliximab for Psoriasis in a [REMICADE] Efficacy and Safety Study (EXPRESS II) was a Phase 3, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that evaluated the safety and efficacy of REMICADE in 835 adult patients with chronic, stable plaque psoriasis involving at least 10 percent BSA, a minimum PASI score of 12 and who were candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy. Patients were randomized to induction doses of REMICADE 3 mg/kg or 5 mg/kg or placebo at weeks 0, 2 and 6. Patients in the active induction treatment groups were randomized again at week 14 to receive either scheduled or "as-needed" maintenance treatment at the same dose administered during the induction phase. Patients in the placebo group were crossed over at week 16 to receive REMICADE 5 mg/kg at weeks 16, 18 and 22, then every 8 weeks through week 46.

In EXPRESS II, through week 14 (the placebo-controlled period), adverse events (AEs) occurred at a higher incidence in the REMICADE groups (63 percent and 69 percent with 3 mg/kg and 5 mg/kg, respectively), compared with the placebo group (56 percent). The only clinically significant laboratory abnormalities that occurred more frequently in the REMICADE group compared with the placebo group were elevated liver enzymes. Serious AEs occurred at rates of two percent in the placebo group, three percent in the 5 mg/kg group and one percent in the 3 mg/kg group. AEs observed were generally consistent with those described in the prescribing information, including information regarding serious infections. Please see "Important Safety Information" below.

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated disease, which results from inflammation in the skin and overproduction of skin cells that accumulate on the surface causing red, scaly plaques that may itch and bleed. This chronic inflammation is driven in part by tumor necrosis factor alpha, or TNF-alpha, a cytokine involved in the body's normal immune response. TNF-alpha is found at increased levels in psoriatic plaques and plays a crucial part in their formation and continued existence. It is estimated that two percent of the U.S. population has psoriasis, and about 30 percent of people with psoriasis have cases that are considered moderate to severe.

About REMICADE

REMICADE is the global market leader among anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) therapies and is the only anti-TNF-alpha treatment approved in three different therapeutic areas: gastroenterology, rheumatology and dermatology. REMICADE has demonstrated broad clinical utility in Crohn's disease (CD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ulcerative colitis (UC), pediatric Crohn's disease (PCD) and psoriasis (PsO). The safety and efficacy of REMICADE have been well established in clinical trials over the past 14 years and with more than 843,000 patients treated worldwide through commercial experience.

In the U.S., REMICADE, in combination with methotrexate, is indicated for reducing signs and symptoms, inhibiting the progression of structural damage and improving physical function in patients with moderately to severely active RA. REMICADE is the only biologic indicated for reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in adult and pediatric patients with moderately to severely active CD who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy. REMICADE is also indicated for reducing the number of draining enterocutaneous and rectovaginal fistulas and maintaining fistula closure in adult patients with fistulizing CD. In December 2004, REMICADE was approved for reducing signs and symptoms in patients with active AS. In May 2005, REMICADE was approved for reducing signs and symptoms of active arthritis in patients with PsA. Additionally, in September 2005, REMICADE was approved for reducing signs and symptoms, achieving clinical remission and mucosal healing, and eliminating corticosteroid use in patients with moderately to severely active UC who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy. This approval makes REMICADE the first and only biologic approved for the treatment of moderate to severe UC. In addition, on May 19, 2006, REMICADE was approved for reducing signs and symptoms and inducing and maintaining clinical remission in pediatric patients with moderately to severely active Crohn's disease who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy. This approval establishes REMICADE as the first and only biologic therapy approved for the treatment of PCD. In August 2006, REMICADE received the expanded indication for inhibiting the progression of structural damage and improving physical function in patients with psoriatic arthritis. In September 2006, REMICADE was approved for the treatment of adult patients with chronic severe plaque psoriasis. In October 2006, REMICADE was approved for maintaining clinical remission and mucosal healing in patients with moderately to severely active UC, who have had an inadequate response to conventional therapy.

REMICADE is unique among available anti-TNF biologic therapies. Unlike self-administered therapies that require patients to inject themselves frequently, REMICADE is the only anti-TNF biologic administered directly by caregivers in the clinic or office setting. In RA (3 mg/kg), CD (5 mg/kg), PsA (5 mg/kg), UC (5 mg/kg), PCD (5 mg/kg), and PsO (5 mg/kg), REMICADE is a two-hour infusion administered every 8 weeks, following a standard induction regimen that requires treatment at weeks 0, 2 and 6. As a result, REMICADE patients may require as few as six treatments each year. In AS (5 mg/kg), REMICADE is a two-hour infusion administered every 6 weeks, following a standard induction regimen that requires treatment at weeks 0, 2 and 6.

Important Safety Information

There are reports of serious infections, including tuberculosis (TB), sepsis and pneumonia. Some of these infections have been fatal. Tell your doctor if you have had recent or past exposure to people with TB. Your doctor will evaluate you for TB and perform a TB test. If you have latent (inactive) TB, your doctor should begin TB treatment before you start REMICADE. REMICADE can lower your ability to fight infections, so if you are prone to or have a history of infections, or develop any signs of an infection such as fever, fatigue, cough, flu or warm, red or painful skin while taking REMICADE, tell your doctor right away. Also, tell your doctor if you are scheduled to receive a vaccine or if you have lived in a region where histoplasmosis or coccidioidomycosis is common.

Reports of a type of blood cancer called lymphoma in patients on REMICADE or other TNF blockers are rare but occur more often than expected for people in general. People who have been treated for rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or plaque psoriasis for a long time, particularly those with highly active disease may be more prone to develop lymphoma. Cancers, other than lymphoma, have also been reported. Children and young adults who have been treated for Crohn's disease with REMICADE have developed a rare type of lymphoma that often results in death. These patients also were receiving drugs known as azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. If you take REMICADE or other TNF blockers, your risk for developing lymphoma or other cancers may increase. You should also tell your doctor if you have had or develop lymphoma or other cancers or if you have a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Many people with heart failure should not take REMICADE; so prior to treatment you should discuss any heart condition with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you develop new or worsening symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles or feet, or sudden weight gain.

Reactivation of hepatitis B virus has been reported in patients who are carriers of this virus and are taking TNF blockers, such as REMICADE. Some of these cases have been fatal. Tell your doctor if you know or think you may be a carrier of hepatitis B virus or if you experience signs of hepatitis B infection, such as feeling unwell, poor appetite, tiredness, fever, skin rash and/or joint pain.

There have been rare cases of serious liver injury in people taking REMICADE, some fatal. Tell your doctor if you have liver problems and contact your doctor immediately if you develop symptoms such as jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), dark brown urine, right-sided abdominal pain, fever, or severe fatigue.

Blood disorders have been reported, some fatal. Tell your doctor if you develop possible signs of blood disorders such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness while taking REMICADE. Nervous system disorders have also been reported. Tell your doctor if you have or have had a disease that affects the nervous system, or if you experience any numbness, weakness, tingling, visual disturbances or seizures while taking REMICADE.

Allergic reactions, some severe, have been reported during or after infusions with REMICADE. Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, difficulty breathing, chest pain, high or low blood pressure, swelling of face and hands, and fever or chills. Tell your doctor if you have experienced a severe allergic reaction. The most common side effects of REMICADE are: respiratory infections, such as sinus infections and sore throat, headache, rash, coughing, and stomach pain.

Please read the Medication Guide for REMICADE and discuss it with your doctor.

About Centocor

Centocor is harnessing the power of world-leading research and biomanufacturing to deliver innovative biomedicines that transform patients' lives. Centocor has already brought innovation to the treatment of Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis, pediatric Crohn's disease and psoriasis.

The world leader in monoclonal antibody production and technology, Centocor has brought critical biologic therapies to patients suffering from debilitating immune disorders. Centocor, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

(1) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders. Questions and Answers About Psoriasis. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health; 2003. NIH Publication No. 03-5040.


Source: Centocor

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