Dupilumab helps severe asthma patients cut glucocorticoid use

Research has shown dupilumab reduces glucocorticoid use by more than 70% and the number of severe asthma exacerbations by almost 60%.

Using an asthma inhaler

The atopic dermatitis treatment dupilumab may allow patients with severe asthma to reduce their oral glucocorticoid use while improving asthma control, according to the results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (online, 21 May 2018)[1]

The trial involved 210 patients with glucocorticoid-dependent asthma who were randomly assigned to dupilumab 300mg or placebo injection every 2 weeks for 24 weeks.

By the last week of the intervention, those in the dupilumab group had a 70.1% decline in glucocorticoid use from baseline, compared with a 41.9% reduction in the placebo group. The dupilumab group also had 59% fewer severe exacerbations than the placebo group and significantly improved lung function.

Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets a key component in an allergic inflammatory signalling pathway. It was granted marketing authorisation for atopic dermatitis in the EU in September 2017.

The researchers noted that the results indicated a significant placebo effect. However, they concluded that “even with this level of placebo effect, patients in the dupilumab group had a significant additional benefit regarding multiple measures of asthma control”.


[1] Rabe K, Nair P, Brusselle G et al. Efficacy and safety of dupilumab in glucocorticoid-dependent severe asthma. N Engl J Med 2018. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1804093

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Dupilumab helps severe asthma patients cut glucocorticoid use;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205133

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