Results from two multi center clinical trials support the use of reslizumab in patients with asthma and elevated blood eosinophil counts who are inadequately controlled on inhaled corticosteroid-based therapy. The study titled “Reslizumab for inadequately controlled asthma with elevated blood eosinophil counts: results from two multicentre, parallel, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trials” is published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
A total of 953 patients took part in the two double-blind, parallel-group, randomized, placebo-controlled phase 3 trials from 232 health centers around the world. Patients had asthma that has been difficult to control with normal steroid therapy. For the study patients had their Eosinophils counted, a type of white blood cell thought to drive asthma severity.
Patients continued taking their medications and were randomly assigned to receive either intravenous reslizumab (3·0 mg/kg) or placebo every 4 weeks for 1 year by computerized central randomization. After 1 year, results showed that a total of 50% of the patients who received the placebo experienced asthma exacerbations versus 32% of the patients under reslizumab.
“The drug, reslizumab, reduces asthma attacks in a particular population of patients,” said principal investigator Mario Castro, MD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in a recent news release. “It helped prevent severe attacks that typically require patients to contact their physicians and that usually result in those patients being placed on oral steroids that come with a range of side effects.”
“Within a matter of a week or two, their eosinophil counts were reduced,” Castro said in the news release . “Those cells go into your lungs and cause airways to swell and inflame and turn red and produce mucus. The idea is that by keeping those cells from doing that damage, you can improve airflow through the windpipe. And that’s exactly what we saw. Significant increases in lung function occurred within a few months of patients being on this therapy, and those improvements were sustained throughout the study.”