FRIDAY, Oct. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For adults with severe asthma, risankizumab is not beneficial, with a shorter time to the first asthma worsening, according to a study published online Oct. 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Christopher E. Brightling, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a phase 2a, multicenter, randomized, 24-week trial involving adults with severe asthma. Patients were randomly assigned to receive the anti-interleukin-23p19 monoclonal antibody risankizumab or placebo (105 and 109 patients, respectively), administered subcutaneously once every four weeks.

The researchers observed a shorter time to first asthma worsening with risankizumab versus placebo (median, 40 versus 86 days; hazard ratio, 1.46; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.05 to 2.04; P = 0.03). For annualized asthma worsening, the rate ratio with risankizumab versus placebo was 1.49 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.12 to 1.99); for severe exacerbations, the rate ratio was 1.13 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.75 to 1.70). There was downregulation of genes involved in the activation of natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells and the activation of type 1 helper T and type 17 helper T transcription factors with risankizumab. Risankizumab therapy was not associated with any safety concerns.

“These findings undermine the role of interleukin-23 and the Th17 axis as targets for the treatment of asthma,” the authors write.

The study was funded by AbbVie and Boehringer Ingelheim; AbbVie manufactures risankizumab.

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