Are Biologics Efficacious in Atopic Dermatitis? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
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Current systemic treatments for atopic dermatitis (AD) offer limited efficacy and are often restricted by safety concerns. Biologics may address the unmet need for improved AD therapeutics.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of biologic agents in AD.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating AD patients treated with biologics was performed. The primary outcome was the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI)-75 response, while secondary outcomes were SCOring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD)-75, EASI-50, SCORAD-50, Investigator Global Assessment 0/1 responses, change in responses from baseline, and adverse events.
We included 13 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 10 observational studies evaluating nine biologics. High-quality evidence was available for dupilumab, nemolizumab and ustekinumab. Pooling five studies, at weeks 12–16 dupilumab 300 mg every week to every 2 weeks achieved EASI-75 responses of 55%, superior to placebo [relative risk (RR) 3.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.9–3.6]. Nemolizumab had similar EASI-75 responses as placebo, but significantly improved pruritus. In online reports, lebrikizumab demonstrated superior EASI-50 responses versus placebo (RR 1.3, 95% CI 1.04–1.7), while tralokinumab had superior SCORAD-50 responses versus placebo, with borderline significance (RR 1.7, 95% CI 0.97–3.1). In two RCTs each, omalizumab and ustekinumab were comparable with placebo, while antithymic stromal lymphopoietin receptor, infliximab, and rituximab lacked adequate evidence of efficacy. All medications had a comparable safety profile to placebo.
Lack of RCTs and the use of variable outcome measures limited conclusions.
Dupilumab is currently the only biologic with robust evidence of efficacy in AD. Nemolizumab, lebrikizumab, and tralokinumab show promise but further data are needed. Longer follow-up and larger studies will establish their safety profile.
Compliance with ethical standards
No funding was received for this study.
Conflict of interest
Igor Snast, Ofer Reiter, Emmilia Hodak, Rivka Friedland, and Daniel Mimouni report no conflicts of interest. Yael Anne Leshem has received speaker honorarium and advisory board participation fees from Sanofi, Israel, and consulting fees from Regeneron, USA, and Genentech, USA.
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