New antibody treatment for severe asthma

Nucala (mepolizumab) can be prescribed as an add-on therapy for patients with severe refractory eosinophilic asthma.

The presence of eosinophils in the airway lumen has been shown to be predictive of loss of asthma control and a possible marker of disease severity. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The presence of eosinophils in the airway lumen has been shown to be predictive of loss of asthma control and a possible marker of disease severity. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Further information
View Nucala drug record
Summary of Product Characteristics
Manufacturer: GlaxoSmithKline

Mepolizumab is a humanised antibody that targets interleukin-5 (IL-5), the major cytokine responsible for eosinophil regulation. Mepolizumab prevents IL-5 from binding to the receptor on the eosinophil cell surface, inhibiting IL-5 signalling and reducing the production and survival of eosinophils. 

Exacerbations

Three double-blind, randomised controlled trials (DREAMMENSA and SIRIUS) found mepolizumab to be more effective than placebo in reducing the rate of exacerbations in patients with severe asthma. In addition, patients receiving mepolizumab experienced greater reductions in their daily maintenance oral corticosteroid dose than patients receiving placebo, while maintaining asthma control.

Administration

Nucala is administered by a healthcare professional via subcutaneous injection into the upper arm, thigh or abdomen every four weeks.

Headaches were reported as the most frequently occurring adverse effect.

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