IgE and eosinophils as therapeutic targets in asthma

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by reversible airflow obstruction, which is being more widely recognized as a broad-spectrum disease that encompasses multiple patient characteristics and pathophysiologic mechanisms. Suboptimal asthma control leads to increasing burden of healthcare costs and loss of productivity to society. Biologic therapies targeted at IgE and eosinophils can be used in poorly controlled allergic and eosinophilic asthma, respectively. The purpose of this review is to analyze the advancements in currently available biologic therapies targeted at IgE and eosinophils in asthma and to identify how these therapies may impact overall healthcare costs.

Recent findings

Omalizumab is an anti-IgE antibody that is approved for use of poorly controlled moderate-to-severe asthma. Many studies have confirmed that omalizumab not only improves quality of life and symptom scores, but also decreases urgent care and emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Dupilumab is a biologic agent targeted at TH2 cytokines, but indirectly impacts IgE and is an important biologic agent for atopic disease. Mepolizumab, reslizumab, and benralizumab target IL-5, a key cytokine for eosinophils. For patients with poorly controlled eosinophilic asthma, these biologic agents improve asthma symptoms, reduce exacerbations, and reduce emergency visits and hospitalizations.

Summary

Poorly controlled severe asthma affects a small portion of patients with asthma in the United States and yet it accounts for large portion of healthcare utilization. Biological therapies in poorly controlled severe persistent asthma have been identified to reduce healthcare utilization, including emergency visits and hospitalizations. Biologic agents have a clear beneficial role in the management of severe asthma, and further evaluations should be continued in identifying optimal patient characteristics for the various agents and overall benefit toward healthcare utilization and cost.

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