FDA to Review Topical PDE4-Inhibitor Roflumilast for Psoriasis

Heidi Splete

December 30, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration has accepted a new drug application (NDA) for roflumilast, a topical phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE4) inhibitor for treating psoriasis in adults and adolescents, according to a statement from the manufacturer.

Roflumilast cream (also known as ARQ-151) is a small molecule inhibitor of PDE4, an enzyme that increases proinflammatory mediators and decreases anti-inflammatory mediators. PDE4 is an established treatment target in dermatology: The FDA approved PDE-4 inhibitor crisaborole (Eucrisa) as a topical treatment for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in 2016, and an oral PDE-4 inhibitor, orismilast, is being studied for the treatment of plaque psoriasis.

Topical roflumilast, if approved, would be the first topical PDE4 inhibitor for psoriasis in particular, according to the Arcutis Biotherapeutics statement. The cream is designed for use on the entire body, including the face and sensitive intertriginous areas.

The NDA is based on data from a pair of phase 3 randomized, double-blind 8-week studies known as DERMIS 1 and DERMIS 2 (Trials of PDE4 Inhibition with Roflumilast for the Management of Plaque Psoriasis” One and Two) and a long-term phase 2b open-label study.

DERMIS 1 and DERMIS 2 were identical multinational, multicenter studies designed to assess the safety and efficacy of 0.3% roflumilast cream. In the studies, roflumilast met its primary endpoint and patients treated with it demonstrated an Investigator Global Assessment (IGA) success rate of 42.4% compared with 6.1% for the vehicle control (P < .0001), and 37.5% compared with 6.9% for the vehicle control (P < .0001), in the DERMIS 1 and 2 trials, respectively, according to Arcutis.

In the phase 2b study, the treatment effect lasted for 52-64 weeks. Roflumilast was well tolerated across the three studies.

Overall, the most common adverse events reported in the studies were diarrhea (3%), headache (2%), insomnia (1%), nausea (1%), upper respiratory tract infections (1%), and urinary tract infections (1%).

Roflumilast also showed statistically significant improvement compared to a vehicle on secondary endpoints including Intertriginous IGA (I-IGA) Success, Psoriasis Area Severity Index-75 (PASI-75), reductions in itch as measured by the Worst Itch-Numerical Rating Scale (WI-NRS), and patient perceptions of symptoms based on the Psoriasis Symptoms Diary (PSD).

The FDA has set a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) target action date of July 29, 2022, according to the manufacturer’s statement. An oral formulation of roflumilast was approved by the FDA in 2011, for reducing the risk of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in patients with severe COPD.

This story originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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