Asthma exacerbations decreased by 87% in patients treated with an investigational agent that targets the interleukin-4 (IL-4) receptor, results of a placebo-controlled phase II trial showed.
Dupilumab was associated with an exacerbation rate of 6% compared with 44% in the placebo group.
Measures of lung function and asthma control also improved significantly in the dupilumab arm, and treatment with the monoclonal antibody was associated with a reduction in biomarkers of Th2-driven inflammation.
The drug was generally well tolerated; the most common adverse events were injection-site reactions, nasopharyngitis, nausea, and headache, as reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine and simultaneously at the American Thoracic Society meeting.
"This study targeted those individuals who, on the basis of eosinophil levels in their blood, seemed to have evidence for Th2-type asthma," principal investigator Sally Wenzel, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, told MedPage Today. "By using this drug that blocks this pathway, we observed a really robust response compared with placebo in patients with moderate to severe asthma."
"The drug improved exacerbations, improved lung function, improved symptoms, and improved asthma control."
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