Airway inflammation represents an important characteristic in asthma, modulating airflow limitation and symptom control, and triggering the risk of asthma exacerbation. Thus, although corticosteroids represent the cornerstone for the treatment of asthma, severe patients may be dependent on oral corticosteroids (OCSs). Fortunately, the current humanised monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) benralizumab, dupilumab, mepolizumab, omalizumab, and reslizumab have been proven to induce an OCS-sparing effect in randomized controlled trials (RCTs), thus overcoming the problem of OCS dependence in severe asthma. Nevertheless, a large discrepancy has been recognized between selected patients enrolled in RCTs and non-selected asthmatic populations in real-world settings. It is not possible to exclude that the OCS-sparing effect of mAbs resulting from the RCTs could be different than the real effect resulting in clinical practice. Therefore, we performed a systematic review and correlation analysis to assess whether mAbs are effective in eliciting an OCS-sparing effect and overcoming the OCS dependence in severe asthmatic patients in real-world settings. Overall, real-world studies support the evidence that OCS dependence is a real condition that, however, can be found only in a small number of really severe asthmatic patients. In most patients, the dependence on OCS can be related to modifying factors that, when adequately modulated, may lead to a significant reduction or suspension of OCS maintenance. Conversely, in severe asthmatics in whom OCS resistance is proved by a high daily dose intake, mAbs allow reversion of the OCS dependence, leading to the suspension of OCS therapy in most patients or >50% reduction in the daily OCS dose.
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