A new treatment for young children with severe eczema
Eczema is a common skin disease, causing intense itching. Benign and non-contagious, atopic dermatitis is one of many types of eczema. It is distinguished by extreme skin dryness and red patches most of the time harboring small vesicles that cause itching. It appears especially on the face and the folds of the elbows and knees.
Scientists from the university of Manchester participated in an international trial to find a way to treat this skin condition. The trial demonstrated that the biological treatment reserved for very young children with moderate eczema has been shown to be safe and effective.
Significant improvement after treatment
Existing creams do not properly treat infants and young children with atopic dermatitis. This is why the Dr. Peter Arkwright, principal investigator for Manchester and an academic paediatrician, studied the use of dupilumab in children with this condition. This study is taking place at the Clinical Research Center (CRF) at the Royal Manchester Childen Hospital since August 2015.
Biotech companies Regeneron and Sanofi sponsored the study using dupilumab to treat poorly controlled eczema. It’s about first large randomized trial using a monoclonal antibody to treat skin diseases in patients aged six months to six years.
The study was published in The Lancet. She revealed that the drug greatly alleviated the disease. It reduces itching and skin pain in two weeks. Thanks to this, the patients’ sleep and quality of life also improved.
Particularly encouraging results
The study was conducted on 162 patients, recruited in 31 hospitals, clinics and academic institutions in Europe and North America, from June 2020 to February 2021. Scientists administered a subcutaneous injection of dupilumab to 83 patients. The other 79, meanwhile, received placebo every four weeks, along with the standard treatment and a low potency steroid cream. The treatment lasted 16 weeks.
The results showed that 28% of patients receiving dupilumab achieved an overall skin score of 0 or 1. Their skin was clear or nearly clear at week 16. 53% of patients experienced a 75% improvement at end of trial. Patients who received dupilumab were more prone to conjunctivitis (5% versus 0%). However, no dupilumab-related side effects were serious or led to discontinuation of treatment.
The treatment is already authorized in the UK for adults and children aged 6 to 18. However, doctors hope that this study will promote the approval of this treatment as soon as possible for infants and young children in the country.