Some Psoriasis Meds May Also Help Prevent Heart Disease
TUESDAY September 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Biologic therapy for skin disease psoriasis may reduce the risk of heart disease in patients, new research shows.
Chronic inflammation in people with psoriasis is associated with the development of plaque in the heart arteries, which increases the risk of coronary heart disease. In biological therapy, patients are given protein infusions to reduce inflammation.
“This is the first time that an imaging study in humans has shown what a year of continuous, untreated inflammation can do to the arteries in the heart, and that we can reverse that damage,” said the lead author of the study, Dr Nehal Mehta. He is head of the Inflammation and Cardiometabolic Disease Laboratory at the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
“Untreated inflammation is dangerous. You are just waiting for a heart attack or stroke,” Mehta added.
This study focused on a dangerous type of coronary plaque called the lipid-rich necrotic nucleus. It is made up of dead cells and cellular debris and has a tendency to rupture. The ruptured plaque can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The study included 209 patients, aged 37 to 62, with psoriasis. They were selected to receive biological therapy (124 patients) or assigned to the control group and received topical creams and light therapy (85 patients).
After one year of treatment, CT scans showed that patients who received biological treatment had an 8% decrease in coronary plaque, while those in the control group had a slight increase.
The results were maintained even after researchers adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and the severity of psoriasis. The study was published on September 15 in the journal Circulation: cardiovascular imaging.
“Having an inflamed plaque that is prone to rupture increases the risk of a heart attack five times in 10 years,” Mehta said in a press release.
Treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins reduces coronary plaque by about 6% to 8%, Mehta noted. “Likewise, our biologic therapy treatment reduced coronary plaque by the same amount after one year. These results suggest that biologic therapy to treat psoriasis may be just as beneficial as statin therapy on cardiac arteries,” at- he adds.
With patients with psoriasis, the study’s results could have implications for people with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as HIV, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, who are also at increased risk of heart disease, according to Researchers.
“We have never been able to show healing from an inflamed plaque like this in humans. Biological therapy reduces systemic inflammation and immune activation, and it has a favorable impact on improvement. of overall vascular health, ”Mehta said.
The authors said a larger study was needed to confirm the results.
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