Ixekizumab Improved Impact of Genital Psoriasis on Sexual Activity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jennifer Cather MD Medical Director at Modern Dermatology and Modern Research Associate Dallas, Texas 

Dr. Cather

Dr. Jennifer Cather MD
Medical Director at Modern Dermatology and Modern Research Associate
Dallas, Texas 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Genital psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and burdensome condition that many people living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis experience. Due to the significant impact, Lilly conducted a 12-week Phase 3b clinical trial with patients with moderate-to-severe genital psoriasis treated with ixekizumab, which found that patients had a greater decrease in the impact of their condition on sexual activity compared to placebo as early as one week.

Specifically, trial patients were randomized to receive ixekizumab (80 mg every two weeks, following a 160-mg starting dose) or placebo and researchers measured pre-specified patient-reported outcomes, including the Genital Psoriasis Sexual Impact Scale (GPSIS), which is composed of the Sexual Activity Avoidance (Avoidance) and Impact of Sexual Activity on Genital Psoriasis Symptoms (Impact) subscales. Patient-reported outcomes were also measured by the Sexual Frequency Questionnaire (SFQ) item 2, evaluating the impact of genital psoriasis on the frequency of sexual activity, and the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) item 9, evaluating the impact of skin symptoms on sexual difficulties.

At 12 weeks, patients reported the following outcomes:

  • DLQI Item 9 0/1: 92.0 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 56.8 percent of patients treated with placebo reported no (0) or little (1) sexual difficulties caused by skin symptoms.
  • SFQ Item 2 0/1:  78.4 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 21.4 percent of patients treated with placebo (reported the frequency of sexual activity was either never (0) or rarely (1) limited by genital psoriasis.
  • GPSIS-Avoidance 1/2:  76.7 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 25.7 percent of patients treated with placebo reported never (1) or rarely (2) avoiding sexual activity due to genital psoriasis.
  • GPSIS-Impact 1/2:  85.7 percent of patients treated with ixekizumab compared to 52.9 percent of patients treated with placebo reported worsening of genital psoriasis symptoms during or after sexual activity was very low/none at all (1) or low (2). 

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Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Leaves Young Adults Vulnerable to Sexual Dysfunction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., MSW Assistant Professor Graduate College of Social Work University of Houston Houston, TX  

Dr. Acquati

Chiara Acquati, Ph.D., MSW
Assistant Professor
Graduate College of Social Work
University of Houston
Houston, TX  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer are individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 years at diagnosis, as defined by the National Cancer Institute. Considerable research has unveiled unique psychosocial challenges experienced by AYAs, including poor quality of life, an altered body image, and social isolation.

As a result of these life disruptions, normative psychological and emotional development is affected by the disease and its treatment, particularly with respect to sexual identity, development, and behavior. However, few studies have examined sexual functioning and AYA patients’ needs with respect to emotional intimacy and sexual relationships. Estimates of the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in AYAs are limited to date and vary because of data derived from mixed-age groups, single items instead of standardized instruments, and cross-sectional designs. Yet, the state of the science suggests that one-third to two-thirds of cancer patients experience sexual dissatisfaction and a reduced frequency of intercourse. Furthermore, failure to address sexual health may place AYAs at risk for long-term consequences related to sexual functioning and identity development, interpersonal relationships, and quality of life. Hence, detecting changes in the rate of sexual dysfunction over time may help in identifying the appropriate timing for interventions to be delivered.

This study was conceptualized to increase our current knowledge of sexual functioning among AYAs by examining the prevalence of sexual dysfunction over the course of 2 years after the initial cancer diagnosis and the identification of variables that contribute to the probability of reporting sexual dysfunction in order to recognize individuals at higher risk. Young adult patients (≥18 years old) were administered the sexual functioning scale as part of a larger longitudinal multisite survey, and only those who completed the instrument at least once were included in this analysis; for this reason the article focuses on the experience of “young adults”.

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