Addition of Ustekinumab to Standard Care Therapy Benefits SLE Patients

Ustekinumab as part of treatment for active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) proved effective in a new study published in The Lancet. 

The multicenter, double-blind, phase 2, randomized, controlled trial included 102 patients aged between 18 and 75 years who had received an SLE diagnosis at least three months prior. Patients received either ustekinumab (n = 60) or placebo (n = 42). After six months, 62% of the ustekinumab patients (n = 37) and 33% of the placebo group (n = 14) achieved an SRI-4 response. At least one adverse event occurred in 78% of the ustekinumab patients (n = 47) and 67% of the placebo group (n = 28), the most common of which was infection (45% in the ustekinumab group [n = 27] vs 50% in the placebo group [n = 21]). During the study period there were no fatalities or treatment-emergent opportunistic infections, herpes zoster, tuberculosis, or malignancies occurred between weeks 0–24. 

Ustekinumab targets interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-23, both of which have been implicated in systemic lupus erythematosus, researchers note. Currently it is approved to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. 

“The addition of ustekinumab to standard-of-care treatment resulted in better efficacy in clinical and laboratory parameters than placebo in the treatment of active systemic lupus erythematosus and had a safety profile consistent with ustekinumab therapy in other diseases,” the study authors concluded. “The results of this study support further development of ustekinumab as a novel treatment in systemic lupus erythematosus.” 

Source: The Lancet