Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease affecting the skin and joints. Moderate to severe psoriasis is traditionally treated with systemic treatments, which can be effective but are often associated with relevant adverse effects, even when administered intermittently or rotationally. Biologic therapies may provide high and consistent efficacy over time, long-term safety, and simple administration schedules compared with nonbiologic therapies, and can be used in patients intolerant and/or resistant to these therapies. TNF-antagonists have a definite advantage over other biologic agents (e.g., T-cell targeting drugs) in the early and late manifestations of joint involvement. TNF-antagonists are a class of drugs with distinct pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties, and different safety profiles. Etanercept provides a more "physiological" mechanism of action compared to anti-TNF antibodies. Etanercept has less dramatic effects on TNF homeostasis although it has been proved to be highly effective in blocking psoriatic joint erosions. It maintains stable efficacy over time on skin psoriasis, also when used intermittently. Moreover, etanercept has been shown to be not immunogenic, and it only slightly increases the risk of granulomatous infections compared to anti-TNF antibodies. According to the "physiologic" paradigm of selection among TNF-antagonists linked to more or less physiologic mechanism of action, etanercept appears to be the anti-TNF of choice for treating most patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, possibly even at an early stage.
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