Apremilast (Otezla), an oral selective phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor, is the first and only approved treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for oral ulcers associated with Behcet's Disease. Apremilast was approved as a 30 mg twice-daily therapy for adult patients in the United States. There are currently about 5 in 100,000 US residents affected by Behcet's Disease. Multiple systems can be affected by the disease, but it's often characterized by recurrent oral ulcers accompanied by lesions in other organ systems.
Otezla's approval was based on the efficacy and safety results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 RELIEF study, in which 207 previously-treated adult patients with Behcet’s Disease and active oral ulcers were treated with either therapy or placebo.
Treatment of Behcet's Disease typically focuses on reducing discomfort and preventing serious complications. Although Behcet's is a chronic disease, patients may have periods of time when symptoms disappear temporarily (remission). The severity of the disease varies from one patient to another. Some patients may experience milder symptoms, while others may develop complications affecting various organ systems. It is important to treat the manifestations of the disease accordingly.
Behcet’s Disease affects different parts of the body, therefore; it is likely patients will have different doctors. It will be helpful to have a primary care physician in order to coordinate treatment and monitor care. Communication among various physicians is very important in order to achieve optimal care.
Rheumatologists (doctors specializing in arthritis and other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders) are the most knowledgeable about the disease and should be the main physicians involved in the care and treatment of Behcet's Disease patients.
Other doctors involved in coordinated care may include:
Patients can control symptoms of Behcet's Disease with proper medication, rest, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. The goal of treatment is to reduce discomfort and prevent serious complications. It is likely that a combination of medicines will be used in the treatment of Behcet's Disease, depending on symptoms. Patients must provide their doctors with a list of all medications they are currently taking.
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