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.

Explore further: Sequential oral, topical tacrolimus benefits dermatitis

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

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


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.