Systemic pharmacological treatments for chronic plaque psoriasis: a network meta-analysis.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Jan 09; 1(1):CD011535.CD
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease for which some people have a genetic predisposition. The condition manifests in inflammatory effects on either the skin or joints, or both, and it has a major impact on quality of life. Although there is currently no cure for psoriasis, various treatment strategies allow sustained control of disease signs and symptoms. Several randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have compared the efficacy of the different systemic treatments in psoriasis against placebo. However, the relative benefit of these treatments remains unclear due to the limited number of trials comparing them directly head-to-head, which is why we chose to conduct a network meta-analysis. This is the baseline update of a Cochrane Review first published in 2017, in preparation for this Cochrane Review becoming a living systematic review.
To compare the efficacy and safety of conventional systemic agents, small molecules, and biologics for people with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, and to provide a ranking of these treatments according to their efficacy and safety.
We updated our research using the following databases to January 2019: the Cochrane Skin Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, Embase, LILACS and the conference proceedings of a number of dermatology meetings. We also searched five trials registers and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) reports (until June 2019). We checked the reference lists of included and excluded studies for further references to relevant RCTs.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of systemic treatments in adults (over 18 years of age) with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis whose skin had been clinically diagnosed with moderate-to-severe psoriasis, at any stage of treatment, in comparison to placebo or another active agent. The primary outcomes of this review were: the proportion of participants who achieved clear or almost clear skin, that is, at least Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) 90 at induction phase (from 8 to 24 weeks after the randomisation), and the proportion of participants with serious adverse effects (SAEs) at induction phase. We did not evaluate differences in specific adverse effects.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Several groups of two review authors independently undertook study selection, data extraction, 'Risk of bias' assessment, and analyses. We synthesised the data using pair-wise and network meta-analysis (NMA) to compare the treatments of interest and rank them according to their effectiveness (as measured by the PASI 90 score) and acceptability (the inverse of serious adverse effects). We assessed the certainty of the body of evidence from the NMA for the two primary outcomes, according to GRADE, as either very low, low, moderate, or high. We contacted study authors when data were unclear or missing.
We included 140 studies (31 new studies for the update) in our review (51,749 randomised participants, 68% men, mainly recruited from hospitals). The overall average age was 45 years; the overall mean PASI score at baseline was 20 (range: 9.5 to 39). Most of these studies were placebo-controlled (59%), 30% were head-to-head studies, and 11% were multi-armed studies with both an active comparator and a placebo. We have assessed a total of 19 treatments. In all, 117 trials were multicentric (two to 231 centres). All but two of the outcomes included in this review were limited to the induction phase (assessment from 8 to 24 weeks after randomisation). We assessed many studies (57/140) as being at high risk of bias; 42 were at an unclear risk, and 41 at low risk. Most studies (107/140) declared funding by a pharmaceutical company, and 22 studies did not report the source of funding. Network meta-analysis at class level showed that all of the interventions (conventional systemic agents, small molecules, and biological treatments) were significantly more effective than placebo in terms of reaching PASI 90. At class level, in terms of reaching PASI 90, the biologic treatments anti-IL17, anti-IL12/23, anti-IL23, and anti-TNF alpha were significantly more effective than the small molecules and the conventional systemic agents. At drug level, in terms of reaching PASI 90, infliximab, all of the anti-IL17 drugs (ixekizumab, secukinumab, bimekizumab and brodalumab) and the anti-IL23 drugs (risankizumab and guselkumab, but not tildrakizumab) were significantly more effective in reaching PASI 90 than ustekinumab and 3 anti-TNF alpha agents: adalimumab, certolizumab and etanercept. Adalimumab and ustekinumab were significantly more effective in reaching PASI 90 than certolizumab and etanercept. There was no significant difference between tofacitinib or apremilast and between two conventional drugs: ciclosporin and methotrexate. Network meta-analysis also showed that infliximab, ixekizumab, risankizumab, bimekizumab, guselkumab, secukinumab and brodalumab outperformed other drugs when compared to placebo in reaching PASI 90. The clinical effectiveness for these seven drugs was similar: infliximab (versus placebo): risk ratio (RR) 29.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 19.94 to 43.70, Surface Under the Cumulative Ranking (SUCRA) = 88.5; moderate-certainty evidence; ixekizumab (versus placebo): RR 28.12, 95% CI 23.17 to 34.12, SUCRA = 88.3, moderate-certainty evidence; risankizumab (versus placebo): RR 27.67, 95% CI 22.86 to 33.49, SUCRA = 87.5, high-certainty evidence; bimekizumab (versus placebo): RR 58.64, 95% CI 3.72 to 923.86, SUCRA = 83.5, low-certainty evidence; guselkumab (versus placebo): RR 25.84, 95% CI 20.90 to 31.95; SUCRA = 81; moderate-certainty evidence; secukinumab (versus placebo): RR 23.97, 95% CI 20.03 to 28.70, SUCRA = 75.4; high-certainty evidence; and brodalumab (versus placebo): RR 21.96, 95% CI 18.17 to 26.53, SUCRA = 68.7; moderate-certainty evidence. Conservative interpretation is warranted for the results for bimekizumab (as well as tyrosine kinase 2 inhibitor, acitretin, ciclosporin, fumaric acid esters, and methotrexate), as these drugs, in the NMA, have been evaluated in few trials. We found no significant difference between any of the interventions and the placebo for the risk of SAEs. Nevertheless, the SAE analyses were based on a very low number of events with low to very low certainty for just under half of the treatment estimates in total, and moderate for the others. Thus, the results have to be viewed with caution and we cannot be sure of the ranking. For other efficacy outcomes (PASI 75 and Physician Global Assessment (PGA) 0/1) the results were very similar to the results for PASI 90. Information on quality of life was often poorly reported and was absent for several of the interventions.