FDA approves J&J's Stelara for psoriatic arthritis

Autoimmune disorder estimated to affect more than 2 million Americans

HORSHAM, Pa. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug made by Johnson & Johnson for psoriatic arthritis, the company said Monday.

Janssen Biotech, a subsidiary of J&J, announced the approval of Stelara (ustekinumab) alone or combined with the common generic drug methotrexate for treating active psoriatic arthritis in adults. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, the autoimmune disease is estimated to affect more than 2 million people in the United States and is characterized by joint inflammation and psoriasis skin lesions.

"It is critical for dermatologists and rheumatologists to be able to offer new and novel treatment options to our adult patients living with psoriatic arthritis, a disease where additional biologic options are very much needed," Tufts Medical Center specialist Alice Gottlieb said. "Therapy that targets the cytokines interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, two naturally occurring proteins believed to play a role in the development of this debilitating immune-mediated inflammatory disease, could improve patient care."

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