Diacerein orphan drug development for epidermolysis bullosa simplex: A phase 2/3 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial

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Abstract

Background:

Epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS) is a rare genetic, blistering skin disease for which there is no cure. Treatments that address the pathophysiology of EBS are needed.

Objective:

Compare the impact of 1% diacerein cream with placebo in reducing the number of blisters in EBS.

Methods:

In a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2/3 trial we used a 1% diacerein topical formulation to treat defined skin areas in 17 patients. In a 2-period crossover trial, patients were randomized to either placebo or diacerein for a 4-week treatment and a 3-month follow-up in period 1. After a washout, patients were crossed over during period 2. The prespecified primary end point was the proportion of patients with a reduction of number of blisters by more than 40% from baseline in selected areas over the treatment episode.

Results:

Of the patients receiving diacerein, 86% in episode 1 and 37.5% in episode 2 met the primary end point (vs 14% and 17% with placebo, respectively). This effect was still significant after the follow-up. Changes in absolute blister numbers were significant for the diacerein group only. No adverse effects were observed.

Limitations:

Low patient numbers and no invasive data acquisition because of clinical burden in children.

Conclusion:

This trial provides evidence of the impact of 1% diacerein cream in the treatment of EBS.

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