Risankizumab versus ustekinumab for plaque psoriasis: a critical appraisal

A Al-Janabi, Z K Jabbar-Lopez, C E M Griffiths, Z Z N Yiu

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Aim: Gordon et al investigated the efficacy and safety of risankizumab (an anti-interleukin[IL]23p19 biologic) compared with ustekinumab (anti-IL12/23p40) and placebo in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis. This is a parallel group controlled study up to 16 weeks with a planned switch of the placebo group to risankizumab at 16 weeks.

Setting and design: This study consisted of two replicate phase 3, double-blinded randomised-controlled trials (UltIMMa-1 and UltIMMa-2) conducted across 139 centres in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and the USA.

Study exposure: Patients with a minimum 6 month history of chronic plaque psoriasis were randomly assigned to receive either 150 mg risankizumab, 45 mg or 90 mg ustekinumab or placebo. Prior to this, each group was also stratified by weight (either more than or less than 100kg) and previous exposure to tumour necrosis factor inhibitor. Those assigned to receive placebo were transitioned onto risankizumab at week 16. The study drugs were given at weeks 0, 4, 16, 28 and 40.

Outcomes: The severity of psoriasis was measured using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and a static Physician's Global Assessment (sPGA). The authors additionally recorded the number of adverse events in each treatment arm, and a measure of quality of life.

Primary outcome measures: The co-primary outcomes were the proportion of patients achieving a 90% reduction in their baseline PASI (PASI 90) and a sPGA score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear) at week 16.

Results: A total of 506 patients were included in UltIMMa-1 and 491 patients in UltIMMa-2. In UltIMMa-1, PASI-90 by week 16 was achieved by 75.3% of patients receiving risankizumab compared with 42.0% receiving ustekinumab and 4.9% receiving placebo (p<0.0001 vs placebo and ustekinumab). sPGA of 0 or 1 by week 16 was achieved by 87.6% of patients receiving risankizumab compared with 63.0% receiving ustekinumab and 7.8% receiving placebo (p<0.0001 vs placebo and ustekinumab). The results for UltIMMa-2 are similar. The frequency of adverse events in the risankizumab, ustekinumab and placebo groups was similar in both studies.

Conclusions: Gordon et al conclude that risankizumab has a higher efficacy than placebo and ustekinumab in the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis, and that the adverse event profiles were similar across all treatment groups. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1348-1351
Number of pages4
JournalThe British journal of dermatology
Issue number6
Early online date11 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute


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