Washington, DC—A biologic medication under investigations holds the possibility of reducing the need for oral corticosteroids in adults with severe asthma. The randomized controlled trial was simultaneously presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference and published online, ahead of print, by the New England Journal of Medicine. Delivered subcutaneously, benralizumab, an anti-interleukin-5 receptor α monoclonal antibody, quickly depletes eosinophils, which, in high concentrations, can lead to frequent asthma exacerbations. At the end of 28 weeks, the study team, which was led by researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, found that the odds of reducing prednisone use was more than four-times greater for patients enrolled in either of the benralizumab arms than placebo. They also determined that annual exacerbation rates of patients enrolled in either of the benralizumab arms were 55% to 70% lower than placebo, despite reduction in prednisone use. Overall, more than one-third of patients enrolled in the benralizumab arms were able to reduce their prednisone dosages by a significant amount, researchers report.
Published June 30, 2017