Methods: 74 patients with new T1R were randomized to receive Secukinumab (a human IgG1κ monoclonal antibody that binds to the protein interleukin (IL)-17A) or Prednisolone for 20 weeks. IL-17 A levels were correlated before & after the intervention.
Results: Recovery rates in skin signs was similar in both groups (92% vs 87%). Improvements in nerve function both, new & old, sensory (67% vs 48%) and motor (73% vs 76%) loss were higher (but not significantly so) in the patients on Secukinumab. Recurrences rates of lepra reaction (25%) were high in both groups, and recurrences occurred significantly earlier (8 weeks) in patients on Secukinumab, who needed 10% more additional prednisolone. Serious major and minor adverse events rates were much lesser with Secukinumab as compared with Prednisolone alone. Both groups had a significant improvement in their quality of life after the study, measured by the Short form survey SF-36.
Conclusion: This is the first double-blind randomized control trial assessing Secukinumab, in the management of lepra reaction. It could be a safe alternative second-line drug for patients with leprosy reactions who are not improving with prednisolone or are experiencing adverse events related to prednisolone. IL-17A levels could be an important diagnostic marker to diagnose and prognosticate cases of Type 1 Lepra reaction, which if not treated in time can lead to irreversible nerve damage.