The investigational monoclonal antibody benralizumab is associated with reduced oral glucocorticoid use in patients with severe asthma, according to a phase 3, industry-funded trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting.
Over 200 patients with severe asthma associated with eosinophilia who’d been taking oral glucocorticoids for at least 6 months first underwent a run-in phase in which their glucocorticoids were reduced to the lowest effective doses. Patients were then randomized to receive subcutaneous injections of benralizumab, which acts against the interleukin-5 receptor, or placebo every 4–8 weeks. Oral glucocorticoid doses were regularly reduced if asthma control was maintained.
By week 28, benralizumab recipients had a median 75% reduction in glucocorticoid dose, compared with a 25% reduction among placebo recipients. Over half of the benralizumab group was able to stop oral glucocorticoids entirely, versus 19% of the placebo group. The asthma exacerbation rate was also lower with benralizumab.
By Kelly Young
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD
May 23, 2017