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Lilly's Taltz reduces psoriasis symptoms in minors

Eli Lilly and Co. said its psoriasis drug Taltz reduced red patches and itchiness in children and adolescents.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker studied the medicine in a phase 3 clinical trial in patients aged six to 18 with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, characterized by raised red patches covered with a whitish buildup of dead skin cells. These itchy patches mostly show up on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back.

The study results showed that Taltz, also known as ixekizumab, significantly improved symptoms of plaque psoriasis when compared to placebo. A majority of patients, for example, gained clear or almost clear skin and reduced itching after 12 weeks of treatment.

Lilly said the safety profile of Taltz in the study was consistent with previously reported late-stage studies, with no new safety signals detected.

The company now plans to seek U.S. regulatory approval for Taltz to treat pediatric patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Taltz is approved to treat adults.

It is estimated that about 125 million people are affected by psoriasis globally and 20% of them have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. "While it is estimated that up to one third of people with psoriasis first develop symptoms during childhood, there are limited medications available for pediatric patients. This study provides encouraging data supporting the potential for Taltz to become another treatment option for this patient population," said study investigator Kim Papp in a statement.