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New Therapy May Be Effective for Psoriatic Pruritus

Serlopitant, an NK1 receptor antagonist, may be an effective therapy for patients with psoriatic pruritus, according to the findings of a recent study.

“Pruritus, a common symptom of psoriasis, negatively impacts quality of life; however, treatment of lesional skin does not consistently alleviate psoriatic itch,” the researchers said.

They conducted a phase 2 randomized clinical trial to assess the effects of serlopitant among 204 participants with plaque psoriasis and reported itch that lasted for 4 weeks or more and had a worst itch numeric rating scale (WI-NRS) score of 7 or more at baseline. Participants received either 5 mg of serlopitant or placebo once a day for 8 weeks.

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The mean at baseline WI-NRS scores were 8.3 and 8.1 for participants in the serlopitant group and those in the placebo group, respectively.

After 8 weeks of treatment, the WI-NRS 4-point response rate was 33.3% among the serlopitant group compared with 21.1% among the placebo group, the researchers said. They also found that the response rate after 4 weeks was 20.8% in the serlopitant group compared with 11.5% in the placebo group.

Treatment-related adverse events were reported among 4.9% of participants in the serlopitant group and 4% of those in the placebo group, they added.

One limitation of the study was that patients with severe psoriasis were excluded.

“Serlopitant significantly reduced pruritus associated with mild-to-moderate psoriasis, supporting continued development of serlopitant for this patient population,” the researchers concluded.


Pariser DM, Jerry Bagel B, Lebwohl M, Yosipovitch G, Chien E, Spellman MC. Serlopitant for psoriatic pruritus: A phase 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial [published online January 30, 2020]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2020.01.056

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