Novartis has unveiled long-term data indicating that its psoriasis drug Cosentyx is safe and effective for at least five years.

Results from the Phase III study, full data from which are to be presented at a medical congress later this year, confirm the drug’s sustained effect in reducing the signs and symptoms of the disease, the firm noted.

The findings follow data published last year showed that Cosentyx (secukinumab) delivered almost clear or completely clear skin in a majority of patients (PASI 90 - 66 percent, PASI 100 - 44 percent) after four years’ treatment.

Cosentyx was launched in 2015 as the first and only fully-human IL-17A inhibitor to treat psoriasis, and was subsequently also approved for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Recent label updates for the drug in Europe show long-term superiority of Cosentyx versus Janssen’s Stelara (ustekinumab) in moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis on the basis of 52 week data from the CLEAR study, and expanded the use of Cosentyx for the treatment of moderate-to-severe scalp psoriasis.

Also, earlier this year Novartis unveiled trial results suggesting the drug may actually modify the course of the disease in around 20 percent of patients after one year of treatment, after they maintained skin clearance for up to one year after treatment had ceased.

“Being able to change the course of disease is the ultimate goal of treatment, which is why we are investing in the STEPIn trial to further understand the disease modifying ability of Cosentyx in psoriasis,” the drug giant said at the time.