There are some 1.6 million Americans who grapple with the embarrassment of that blaze of reddish-pink that has somehow latched onto our skin. Regardless of the slew of creams and medications, there doesn’t seem to be a cure-all for eczema. That is, until recently. This past October, two large clinical trials determined that nearly 40 percent of participants who used Dupilumab, a new biologic, saw all or nearly all of their eczema disappear.
Dupilumab obstructs two specific molecules in the immune system that are overworked in patients with eczema and certain other allergic diseases. Some participants experienced an increase in conjunctivitis, but this is the only noted side effect. The trial consisted of around 1,400 people and lasted 16 weeks. Researchers published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. During the study, 740 adults with moderate to extreme eczema who had a history of responding negatively to topical corticosteroids were randomly place one of three treatment plans for one year: dupilumab 300 mg once a week, dupilumab 300 mg once every two weeks, or a placebo. All participants were given varying levels of topical corticosteroids that could be used at their own discretion.
"This is the very first internal treatment that will be able to change the game for these patients, essentially giving them long-term and safe control of their widespread disease," said head investigator Andrew Blauvelt, MD, president of Oregon Medical Research Center in Portland.
Dupilumab is still waiting for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for labeling and advertising, but Dr. Blauvelt expects that will happen in April.