Science and technology have drastically improved how autoimmune diseases are managed, and there are more options than ever before to treat autoimmune diseases.
Chase Spurlock, PhD, professor at Vanderbilt University and CEO of IQuity, a Nashville-based analytics startup offering an autoimmune disease-focused data analytics platform, says for many autoimmune diseases the available treatments can effectively control disease, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
He adds that all too often, patients are wandering through the healthcare system trying to find answers and some patients receive the wrong diagnosis and are placed on medicines that are not only expensive but also carry a high level of risk. Receiving an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible is vital to ensure for the best long-term outcomes.
“Time is of the essence. If autoimmune diseases are allowed to progress without any therapeutic intervention, irreversible tissue damage and disability ensue,” he says. “We are very fortunate to live in an era where the therapies to treat many autoimmune diseases are highly effective, especially if they are prescribed early.”
Here are some of the latest advancements for autoimmune disease diagnoses and treatments.
Psoriasis is a common auto-immune disease that affects more than 8 million people in the United States and has a significant burden on patients’ quality of life. Patients are often faced with embarrassment and shame because of the visible plaques on their skin and some patients isolate themselves for fear that others will think their disease is contagious.
In the summer months, this is especially important because clothing worn in warmer weather tends to expose more skin and therefore more unsightly plaque.
Fabrice Chouraqui, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp, says the treatment of psoriasis has been evolving over the years and there are now multiple therapeutic options.
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“Cosentyx is the first and only fully human IL-17A antagonist which has demonstrated efficacy in moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, which may involve troublesome areas such as the nails, the scalp, hands and feet,” he says. “When these areas are involved, psoriasis has an even greater impact on a patient’s quality of life. Cosentyx has also shown efficacy in the joints and is approved for active psoriatic arthritis and active ankylosing spondylitis.”
Unlike some other therapies that have only shown efficacy in the skin, Cosentyx is also a proven therapy for psoriatic arthritis, which is a complication of psoriasis that can cause irreversible bone damage and disability.
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) recognized that IL-17 agents provide long-term value to insurers, patients, and the healthcare system. ICER’s 6/18 Psoriasis Update Evidence Report reviewed Cosentyx and other targeted immunomodulators for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and concluded that first-line treatment with IL-17 drugs is a reasonable strategy due to their high efficacy and reasonable economic value, even in comparison to step therapy using a less effective and less expensive targeted drug first line.
“Payers recognize the value of Cosentyx and they have added it to formulary for over 99% of commercial lives,” Chouraqui says. “For people with commercial or private insurance, most people pay nothing for a 30-day prescription with the Novartis $0 copay program.”