Janssen has launched its biologic Stelara in the UK this week for the treatment of adolescent patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Following a European approval in 2013, Stelara (ustekinumab) has been available in the country to treat adults for some time; now patients aged 12 years and above, who are inadequately controlled by or can’t take other systemic therapies or phototherapies, can also access the therapy.

Its paediatric indication was approved in Europe last June, after clinical data showed that patients aged 12 to 17 years given a standard dose of the drug showed significantly greater improvement in their psoriasis and health-related quality of life compared with placebo after 12 weeks.

On the safety side, by the end of the 60-week trial, 81.8% had reported an adverse event, 5.5% of which were classed as serious. However, malignancies, opportunistic infections and anaphylactic reactions did not occur, the firm noted.

Anthony Bewley FRCP, Consultant Dermatologist at Whipps Cross University Hospital & Royal London Hospital, and Investigator in the CADMUS study, said Stelara has been beneficial in the management of adult psoriasis, “so to have the full data for the use of this medication in younger people is a great step forwards”.

The prevalence of psoriasis in people aged between 10 and 19 years is around 1.4%, which suggests that around 40,000 children and adolescents in this age group are affected by the condition in the UK, Janssen said.