PBS treatment for psoriatic arthritis

Australians suffering from severe psoriatic arthritis (PsA) will welcome the addition of Taltz (ixekizumab) on the PBS.

Taltz is administered by subcutaneous injection, delivered via an auto-injector and will be available on the PBS from today (March 1) as an authority-required listing.

The drug is an interleukin-17A inhibitor and will be available to eligible Australian adult patients with PsA as monotherapy or in combination with cDMARDs for adult patients who have responded inadequately, or who are intolerant to one or more DMARD therapies.

“The PBS listing of Taltz is welcome news for adult patients with severe psoriatic arthritis,” University of Queensland Department of Medicine’s Associate Professor Peter Nash said. “Joint damage can be progressive in psoriatic arthritis with increased disability and reduced quality of life. It’s important that patients have access to alternative therapies to help improve disease control.”

PsA is a life-long condition that causes inflammation of the joints due to an overactive immune system that mistakenly targets the body, causing joints to become painful, stiff and often swollen.

Most commonly, PsA co-exists with psoriasis (PsO), an inflammatory skin condition,  characterised by the appearance of red, thick and scaly plaques. In Australia, about 450,000 people are thought to be living with psoriasis. It is estimated that one in eight people with psoriasis (about 50,000 Australians) will also develop PsA.

Taltz has been available on the PBS for adult patients with severe plaque PsO since February 2017.

“We know that half of patients with active psoriatic arthritis, including those with mild psoriasis, actually consider their psoriatic arthritis to be severe, highlighting the negative impact of both rash and arthritis”, Professor Nash said.

“It’s important to consider therapy for both joint and skin symptoms in relevant patients, to help improve symptom control and quality of life.”

Eli Lilly Australia and New Zealand General Manager Ben Basil thanked the federal government for making Taltz available on the PBS for people with severe psoriatic arthritis.

“A debilitating condition, psoriatic arthritis can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life,” he said. “We’re pleased to be able to provide a new treatment option to help physicians and their patients reach optimal symptom control.”