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)
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”.