Bimekizumab Could Be Meaningful Treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

(HealthDay News) — Bimekizumab is well tolerated and produces clinically meaningful responses in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa, according to a study published online May 22 in The Lancet.

Alexa B. Kimball, M.D., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined the efficacy and safety of bimekizumab in patients with moderate-to-severe hidradenitis suppurativa in two identically designed, 48-week randomized, placebo-controlled trials (BE HEARD I and II [505 and 509 patients, respectively]). Patients (aged 18 years and older) were randomly assigned to receive subcutaneous bimekizumab 320 mg every two weeks; bimekizumab 320 mg every two weeks to week 16, then every four weeks to week 48; bimekizumab 320 mg every four weeks to week 48; or placebo to week 16, then bimekizumab 320 mg every two weeks in a 2:2:2:1 ratio. The primary outcome was a hidradenitis suppurativa clinical response of at least 50 percent (HiSCR50) at week 16.

The researchers found that using modified nonresponder imputation, the primary outcome at week 16 was met in the group who received bimekizumab every two weeks; in both trials, higher responder rates were seen with bimekizumab versus placebo (odds ratios, 2.23 and 2.29, respectively, in BE HEARD I and II). HiSCR50 was also met in the group administered bimekizumab every four weeks in BE HEARD II (odds ratio, 2.42). The investigators observed a maintenance or increase in responses to week 48. In 8 and 5 percent of patients in BE HEARD I and BE HEARD II, respectively, serious treatment-emergent adverse events were reported.

“These data support the use of bimekizumab as a promising new therapeutic option for patients with moderate-to-severe hidradenitis suppurativa,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including UCB Pharma, which manufactures bimekizumab and funded the trial.

What is bimekizumab?

Bimekizumab, sold under the brand name Bimzelx, is a medication used to treat several inflammatory conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. These are lab-made proteins designed to target specific molecules in the body. In the case of bimekizumab, it targets interleukin-17A (IL-17A), interleukin-17F (IL-17F), and interleukin-17AF (IL-17AF). These are molecules involved in the immune system’s inflammatory response. By blocking these interleukins, bimekizumab aims to reduce inflammation.

Bimekizumab is approved for use in adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by itchy, red, and scaly patches. It’s also indicated for adults with active psoriatic arthritis, a form of arthritis that affects people with psoriasis. Additionally, in the European Union, bimekizumab is used for treating non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis and active ankylosing spondylitis, both inflammatory conditions affecting the spine.

What is hidradenitis suppurativa?

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that causes painful, red bumps and boils typically under the arms, groin, buttocks, and breasts. These bumps can become infected, burst, and form tunnels under the skin, leading to scarring. HS can significantly impact quality of life due to pain, discomfort, and social stigma.

Black Americans are disproportionately affected by HS. Studies show they have a two to three times higher chance of developing HS compared to White Americans. The exact reason for this is unknown, but genetics and hormonal factors may play a role.

Black Americans with HS also tend to experience more severe cases. They are more likely to have widespread lesions, experience greater pain, and require more aggressive treatment options like surgery. Additionally, there are disparities in access to healthcare. Black Americans may face delays in diagnosis due to unconscious bias or lack of awareness about HS among some dermatologists. This can lead to worse outcomes and a greater burden of the disease.

More research is needed to understand the reasons behind the racial disparities in HS. Increased awareness and improved access to dermatological care for Black Americans are crucial steps in ensuring timely diagnosis and effective treatment for this challenging condition.

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