Psoriasis is a relatively common, chronic and disabling skin disease, with an immune-related pathogenesis and a genetic background which may be triggered by several environmental factors including smoking and infections. There is no cure but several treatment options are available. The treatment of psoriasis is far from being satisfactory due to impractical modalities of topical treatment and suboptimal safety profile of the systemic treatments available. In the last few years, parallel to an improved understanding of the disease pathogenesis, there has been a boost in research on new agents for the treatment of psoriasis. Ustekinumab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the p40 subunit of interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-23, is one such new agent. Psoriasis and its management are briefly reviewed before focusing on the evidence for ustekinumab in the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis through a systematic search of the main registries of ongoing trials up to December 2009. Ustekinumab proved to be very effective short term in the control of clinical manifestations in psoriasis compared with placebo and with etanercept. Long-term and comparative data are still limited. There is a need for continuing research on the long-term effectiveness and safety of the drug.
Keywords: ustekinumab, chronic plaque psoriasis