Neurodermatitis will be much easier to treat in the future?
Neurodermatitis (atopic eczema) often leads to extensive damage to the skin and can be a considerable burden for those affected. Treatment options have so far been limited, but more recent studies have raised hopes of successfully treating atopic eczema. In a current study with the participation of researchers from the clinic of the University of Munich, a promising effect for the active ingredient "dupilumab" was demonstrated.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have recently tested the use of a natural defense against neurodermatitis. Now the research team with the participation of Prof. Andreas Wollenberg from the University of Munich Clinic and colleagues has been able to prove that the drug "Dupilumab" can be used to alleviate the symptoms extensively in many patients. The quality of life of those affected has improved significantly, said Professor Wollenberg.
Atopic dermatitis for affected people
In eczema, the skin becomes inflamed without a recognizable external cause. The result is a red, itchy rash, which in large cases occurs over a large area and lasts for a long time. "Neurodermatitis is a visitation for many patients, especially for children," according to the report from the University of Munich clinic. Now the researchers have tested a new drug with the active ingredient "dupilumab", which according to Prof. Wollenberg showed "very nice effects".
Immune system TH2 arm overactive
The symptoms of atopic eczema are relatively widespread and, according to the scientists, have "great social and medical importance." Infants are particularly often affected, usually with a mild course. Overall, every fourth child has temporary neurodermatitis. "Adults are rarer, but often more affected," the scientists report. All patients have in common that a certain part of their immune system is overactivated. This so-called TH2 arm of the immune system usually fights infections with parasites such as tapeworms. However, neurodermatitis patients are not infected with parasites and the TH-2 arm is subject to a false alarm, which triggers chronic inflammation in the skin.
Selective blocking of the immune system
With the conventional anti-inflammatory drugs used for neurodermatitis, such as cortisone, not only the TH2 arm is blocked, but all arms of the immune system - including those against viruses, bacteria or cancer cells - are attacked. The new active ingredient "dupilumab", on the other hand, only inhibits the TH2 arm, reports Professor Wollenberg. In the opinion of the medical profession, it should be the same. "Because the more selective a drug is, the fewer side effects are to be expected and the better tolerated a drug is," emphasizes Professor Wollenberg.
Active ingredient tested on almost 1,400 subjects
As part of the study, the new active ingredient was tested on almost 1,400 women and men with moderate to severe neurodermatitis. Two-thirds of the subjects received "dupilumab" for four months - administered in the form of injections in the abdomen, which were given weekly or every two weeks. The remaining patients were injected with a placebo in the abdomen. After a period of four to six weeks, the drug developed its effect and "over time, the skin eczema first disappeared, and a little later the itching completely in a third of the patients treated with the active ingredient," said the report from the University of Munich clinic. According to the researchers, this is "a great success."
New treatment alternative in sight
The effect of the active ingredient lasted for about three months and the symptoms also improved significantly in the remaining treated patients, the scientists report. At the same time, there were no serious side effects in the study. Occasionally, only minor infections occurred. "We will most likely get a new alternative for the treatment of our patients," hopes the Munich dermatologist Prof. Wollenberg. (fp)