New asthma medication shows effectiveness in recent study!
A new study on severe asthma and a potential new treatment was published in New England Journal of Medicine in September 2014. The study is on a new medication called mepolizumab, which is an antibody that can be given subcutaneously to patients with severe, eosinophilic asthma. The study was called the Mepolizumab as Adjunctive Therapy in Patients with Severe Asthma (or MENSA) trial, and the medication was shown to decrease asthma flares and improvements in several other measures of asthma control.
Only about 10% of patients with asthma have severe asthma, but the patients in this group experience much more health risks and complications than other asthma patients. About 1/3 of these patients who have severe asthma has what is called “eosinophilic” asthma, where specific allergic cells called eosinophils contribute to inflammation in the airway.
They study looked at over 500 patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, and each patient was randomly assigned to one of these groups: patients who received 75mg of mepolizumab intravenously (with the medication going through the vein), patients who received 100mg of mepolizumab subcutaneous (with the medication given as a shot under the skin), or placebo (an intervention with no active drug ingredients).
The results showed that patients receiving either the intravenous or the subcutaneous form of mepolizumab had statistically significantly fewer asthma exacerbations than the patient who were given placebo.
Although this medication is still under research, these results are exciting as we have always known that patients with asthma may have different types of asthma, and the goal in the future will be to further define what those “types” are, and tailor medical therapy if we understand that certain patients with certain types of asthma will benefit more from some treatments versus others. This study shows that for patients with severe eosinophilic asthma, that they seem to benefit greatly from this new medication mepolizumab.
At Allergy and Asthma Associates of Southern California, we thrive to be on the cutting edge in terms of our understanding of allergic and immunologic disease, so that the patient to benefit most from that knowledge that is being gained for their specific disease every day.
by Faith Huang, M.D.
If you are suffering from any type of asthma or allergy, please call us at (949) 364-2900 to schedule your appointment today. You can also use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule a future appointment.