Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease and form of eczema. This disease is characterized by an increased type-2 immune response, a weak skin barrier, and an increased colonization of Staphylococcus aureus. For patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, the symptoms of this disease can be debilitating. Staph infections, skin lesions, and itching can lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep loss. For the many sufferers of atopic dermatitis, a collaboration between Regeneron and Sanofi is providing new hope.
In October of this year, the two phase 3 trial results of Regeneron and Sanofi’s collaboration, dupilumab, were published. The two independent, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies tested the drug-use in adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis in North America, Europe, and Asia. Over the 16-week trial, nearly 40% of the subjects receiving dupilumab, both weekly and every other week, reported significant improvements in symptoms. In addition to finding a decrease in physical symptoms of rash and lesions, many patients reported significant improvement in their quality of life, characterized by a decrease in stress, sleep loss, and depression.
While this study is certainly hopeful, it is important, as always, to mention the negatives that come along with the testing of any new drugs. Common side effects reported from use of the drug include conjunctivitis and swelling of the injection site. Additionally, the drug is administered through injection, which is one of the more unpleasant and expensive methods of drug administration.
Even so, this drug is very promising for a field of medicine that has been struggling to treat the debilitating disease. As Dr. Mark Boguniewicz said in a statement to the New York Times, “This is a landmark study.” and “For us in atopic dermatitis, we are entering a new era.”
- Simpson, E. L. et. al. (2016). Two Phase 3 Trials of Dupilumab versus Placebo in Atopic Dermatitis. New England Journal of Medicine. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1610020
- Kolata, G. (2016, October 1). New Drug for Severe Eczema Is Successful in 2 New Trials. The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/01/health/severe-eczema-atopic-dermatitis-drug.html?rref=collection/sectioncollection/science&action=click&contentCollection=science®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=139&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0