Alefacept for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis: A pilot study in adults

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Abstract

Background:

Atopic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin condition with acute and chronic phases showing a prevalence of memory T cells. Alefacept is a fully human LFA-3/IgG1 fusion protein that inhibits T-cell activation and selectively reduces memory T cells, which may prove to be effective in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Objective:

We sought to evaluate clinical response of alefacept intramuscular (IM) injection for 16 weeks in adults with atopic dermatitis.

Methods:

This was an open-label study of a 16-week treatment regimen of alefacept IM injection in adults with moderate to severe inflammatory atopic dermatitis. Patients received alefacept (30 mg IM) weekly for the first 8 weeks. At week 9, patients who did not achieve a 50% reduction in their Eczema Area Severity Index (EASI) score continued on alefacept (30 mg IM) weekly; those patients with a 50% reduction in their EASI (EASI 50) score or higher had their weekly dose decreased (15 mg IM) for the remaining 8 weeks.

Results:

Nine patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis were enrolled and treated. At the primary end point, week 18, 1 patient achieved EASI 50 score and 1 patient achieved EASI 90 score; 4 patients had a decrease in EASI score of less than 50%, 1 patient had an increase in EASI score, and 2 patients withdrew early before the primary end point because of worsening disease. A Physician Global Assessment score of mild was achieved in 2 patients and 1 patient achieved a Physician Global Assessment score of almost clear. Minimal pruritus was reported by 3 patients and 1 patient reported no pruritus. The 16-week course of alefacept was well tolerated.

Limitations:

The study was inherently limited by its small sample size, concomitant use of antihistamines, and open-label design, which increases the likelihood of observer and self-assessment bias.

Conclusion:

The treatment regimen of alefacept for 16 weeks was well tolerated by our patients. Although, in this study, only 2 of the 9 patients with atopic dermatitis responded to treatment with alefacept, the study was inherently limited by the small sample size. Additional studies with a larger sample size, continued weekly use, or concomitant use of ultraviolet-B light therapy may be warranted to evaluate the possibility of alefacept as a therapy for patients with chronic atopic dermatitis.

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