Fasenra reduced daily rescue medication use by day 3 in patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma with eosinophilic inflammation, according to findings presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.
Fasenra (benralizumab, AstraZeneca), a subcutaneous injection, was previously approved by the FDA for additional maintenance treatment of severe eosinophilic asthma in patients older than 12 years.
Researchers pooled data from two phase 3 studies with 2,510 patients aged 12 to 75 years with two or more exacerbations in the year before enrollment, and blood eosinophil counts of 300 cells/µL or higher. Patients received either 30 mg of benralizumab or placebo with their existing long-acting 2-agonists and high-dosage inhaled corticosteroids every 8 weeks for at least 48 weeks, with the first three doses every 4 weeks.
Researchers found by day 3, patients who received benralizumab had reductions in daily and night-time rescue medication use, compared with patients who received placebo. These changes were maintained through the end of treatment. By day 7, patients who received benralizumab also had reductions in daytime rescue medication use, compared with placebo.
Frank Trudo, MD, MBA, vice president of U.S. medical affairs at AstraZeneca, provided more details on benralizumab in an interview with Healio Family Medicine.
“[Benralizumab] has a strong clinical profile, including powerful efficacy against exacerbations and the ability to improve lung function after the first dose observed as early as 4 weeks. Additionally, benralizumab has the potential to reduce, or even stop, daily oral steroid use. All of this is provided with the convenience of 8-week maintenance dosing after three initial monthly doses. Benralizumab is the first and only anti-eosinophil biologic that provides sustained, near complete depletion of blood eosinophils in 24 hours and that binds directly to the surface of an eosinophil,” he said.
Trudo also provided a glimpse into other studies involving the drug.
“In the near-term, we’re focusing on supporting clinician use of benralizumab in severe eosinophilic asthma, which benefits from the convenience of maintenance dosing every 8 weeks, following three initial monthly doses. As physicians continue to gain positive experiences with benralizumab in the office, we’ll look for the right time to introduce self-administration,” he said.
Benralizumab is also being studied in patients with nasal polyps, and for other eosinophil-driven diseases, Trudo said. – by Janel Miller
O’Quinn S, et al. Rescue medication use reduction with benralizumab for patients with severe, uncontrolled eosinophilic asthma. Presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting; Nov. 15-19, 2018; Seattle.
Disclosures: Trudo works for AstraZeneca. Please see the meeting’s abstract book for the authors’ relevant financial disclosures.