AbbVie’s Humira, Pfizer’s Enbrel, and Janssen’s Stelara are being recommended as options for treating plaque psoriasis in children and young people on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has now published final guidance backing all three drugs as options for children and young people, according to their age, whose psoriasis is severe and has not improved with other treatments or they can’t be used.

It also stipulates that treatment with Enbrel (etanercept) should be stopped at 12 weeks, and with Humira (adalimumab) and Stelara (ustekinumab) at 16 weeks, if the psoriasis has not responded adequately (defined as a 75 percent reduction in the PASI score from the start of treatment).

Humira is a fully human immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody that inhibits the activity of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF‑alpha), Enbrel is a recombinant human TNF‑alpha receptor fusion protein that inhibits the activity of TNF‑alpha, and Stelara is a fully human monoclonal antibody that acts as a cytokine inhibitor by targeting interleukin‑12 and interleukin‑23.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis presenting as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells or scale, most commonly on the scalp, knees, elbows and lower back.