New medication shows promise in treating common skin disease

July 9, 2014

An investigational medication shows promise in treating the most common skin disorder, often referred to as eczema or atopic dermatitis, according to a study published July 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings could eventually bring significant relief for many who suffer intense itching and other troubling features of atopic dermatitis, according to the study's lead author Lisa A. Beck, M.D., professor of Dermatology and Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The drug, dupilumab, blocks the action of two proteins involved in inflammation, interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, which play a key role in (AD). AD is a common with troubling signs that include severely dry , red lesions that may crust or ooze, skin thickening, and symptoms of intense itching that may lead to skin wounds, infections and sleep disturbance.

Moderate-to-severe AD is a more chronic version of the disease that typically has more systemic features and is seen in up to 3 percent of adults with the disease. AD can impact a person's ability to lead a full and active life. In addition, people with AD are more likely to have asthma and other allergic disorders such as hay fever. Current treatments for AD include topical and oral steroids as well as phototherapy, but their effectiveness is limited or the side effects associated with their chronic use are significant.

"We are encouraged by the consistent findings across these studies, which show that patients treated with dupilumab had a marked improvement in disease activity and itch," Beck said. "At this point, dupilumab appears to be remarkably effective for adults with severe AD, although larger studies are needed to confirm its safety and efficacy."

Dupilumab is administered as a skin injection, and has shown promise in both Phase I and Phase II studies. Participants in a 12-week Phase II study showed a 74 percent reduction in the Eczema Area Severity Index, a tool used to measure the severity of a patient's condition, compared to only 23 percent in the placebo group. The majority of patients in the group receiving dupilumab experienced significant reductions in itch.

The study's findings set the stage for Phase III clinical trials of dupilumab, to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, and compare it to commonly used treatments.

Dupilumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Sanofi.

Related Stories

Sequential oral, topical tacrolimus benefits dermatitis

September 20, 2012

(HealthDay)—Sequential therapy with oral tacrolimus and topical tacrolimus may be an effective treatment for severe atopic dermatitis (AD), according to a pilot study published in the October issue of the Journal of the ...

Wet wraps cut need for drugs in kids with eczema

July 8, 2014

The number of children with atopic dermatitis, often referred to as eczema, is on the rise. Some estimate that one in five children in the U.S. now suffers from the painful, itchy skin condition. In an effort to control their ...

Recommended for you

Viruses thrive in big families, in sickness and in health

August 5, 2015

The BIG LoVE (Utah Better Identification of Germs-Longitudinal Viral Epidemiology) study, led by scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine, finds that each bundle of joy puts the entire household at increased ...

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.