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Is Otezla (apremilast) an immunosuppressant?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on April 20, 2021.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Otezla is used in psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Behçet's Disease as it reduces inflammation
by regulating inflammatory mediators, produced by immune cells.
It does this by blocking an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) which modifies the inflammatory response by

  • lowering inflammatory mediators
  • increasing anti-inflammatory mediators.


This results in reduced inflammation and a reduction in symptoms.

Does Otezla lower immunity?

Otezla is thought to have a greater effect on innate immunity compared to adaptive immunity, with no effect on T-cell or B-cell expansion. This may explain why clinical studies show a lower risk of serious infection.

References
  • Apremilast is a selective PDE4 inhibitor with regulatory effects on innate immunity: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0898656814001909
  • Psoriasis Pathogenesis and Treatment: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471628/
  • Otezla Medication Information: https://www.drugs.com/pro/otezla.html

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