FDA Approves Topical Tapinarof for Plaque Psoriasis

Heidi Splete


May 24, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration has approved tapinarof cream, 1%, a steroid-free topical cream applied once a day, for the treatment of mild, moderate, or severe plaque psoriasis in adults, the manufacturer announced.

Tapinarof is an aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist and is the first FDA-approved steroid-free topical medication in this class, according to a press release from the manufacturer, Dermavant.

Approval was based on results of three studies in a phase 3 clinical trial program (PSOARING 1, PSOARING 2), and an open-label extension study, (PSOARING 3), the company release said. In PSOARING 1 and 2, approximately 1,000 adults aged 18-75 years (median age, 51 years) with plaque psoriasis were randomized to once-daily topical tapinarof or placebo for up to 12 weeks; 85% were White and 57% were men. The study findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December 2021.

The primary endpoint for both trials was the proportion of patients who achieved Physician Global Assessment (PGA) scores score of "clear" (0) or "almost clear" (1) and improvement of at least two grades from baseline.

After 12 weeks, 36% of the patients in PSOARING 1 and 40% in PSOARING 2 who received tapinarof met the primary outcome, compared with 6% of patients on placebo (P < .001 for both studies). Of these, a total of 73 patients from both studies who achieved PGA scores of 0 were entered in PSOARING 3, a 40-week open-label extension study, in which they stopped tapinarof treatment and retained PGA scores of 0 or 1 for approximately 4 months off treatment. An additional 312 patients who were enrolled in the PSOARING 3 extension study achieved PGA scores of 0 at least once during the study period, with "remittive" effects lasting a mean of 130 days off of treatment.

In addition, patients who received tapinarof in the PSOARING 1 and 2 studies showed significant improvement from baseline, compared with patients on placebo, across a range of secondary endpoints including a 75% or greater improvement in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score (PASI 75).

In PSOARING 1, and 2, respectively, 36.1% and 47.6% of those on tapinarof achieved a PASI 75 response at week 12, compared with 10.2% and 6.9% of those on the vehicle (P < .001 for both).

Across all three studies, the majority adverse events were mild to moderate, and limited to the application site.

The most common adverse events reported by patients in the tapinarof groups were folliculitis, nasopharyngitis, and contact dermatitis. Headaches were more common among those treated with tapinarof than those on vehicle in the studies (3.8% vs. 2.4% in PSOARING 1, and 3.8% vs. 0.6% in PSOARING 2), leading to only three treatment discontinuations.

At the end of the PSOARING 3 study (at either week 40 or early termination), 599 participants responded to satisfaction questionnaires. Of these, 83.6% said they were satisfied with the results of tapinarof treatment, and 81.7% said it was more effective than previous topical treatments they had used, according to the company's release.

Tapinarof cream can be used on all areas of the body, including the face, skin folds, neck, genitalia, anal crux, inflammatory areas, and axillae, according to the company release.

Full prescribing information is available here.

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


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