FRIDAY, March 3, 2017 (HealthDay News) — An experimental drug, nemolizumab, may significantly reduce the itching and improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, according to a study published in the March 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In this 12-week trial, a team lead by Thomas Ruzicka, M.D., of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, randomly assigned 264 patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis to one of three injectable doses of nemolizumab (a humanized antibody against interleukin-31 receptor A) or placebo.
The researchers found that those who received nemolizumab every four weeks had significant improvement in their atopic dermatitis, compared with patients who received a placebo. Among the 216 patients who completed the study, those getting the second-highest dose of nemolizumab, which the researchers considered to have the best effect with the lowest risk, experienced a 59.8 percent reduction in itching, compared with a 20.9 percent reduction among patients who received a placebo.
In addition, patients receiving the second-highest dose of the drug saw a 42.3 percent reduction in the size of the areas of atopic dermatitis, compared with a 26.6 percent reduction among those receiving a placebo. Patients getting that dose also had a 20.0 percent reduction in the total body area affected by atopic dermatitis, compared with a 15.7 percent reduction among those receiving placebo. Seventeen percent of participants withdrew from the study because of side effects, which included worsening atopic dermatitis, respiratory tract infections, infections of the nose or throat, or swelling of the ankles or feet.
The study was funded by Tokyo-based Chugai Pharmaceutical, the manufacturer of nemolizumab.
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