Regulators approved the first injected, powerful medicine to treat the most serious cases of eczema, a skin condition.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted their approval of Dupixent or dupilumab for moderate to severe eczema, which causes red rashes that are fiercely itchy on the legs, arms and face.
In three different studies of this drug that included 2,118 participants, between a third and two thirds reached clear or close to clear skin. Approximately 4 out of 10 had a sharp decrease in itching, bringing about reduced anxiety and depression and better sleep.
Dupixent is set to have a price tag initially of $37,000 annually, according to Sanofi SA in Paris and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in New York, which were the developers of the drug.
The drug’s side effects include inflammation of the eyelid and eye and cold sores.
This drug is an antibody injected by patients every two weeks. The drug binds to a protein to inhibit an inflammatory response by the immune system. Because of that many of the participants in the study, also saw an improvement in hay fever and asthma common in patients with eczema.
The drug is now holding late-stage testing on patients as a treatment for allergies.
Eczema treatments generally have been only topical medications, moisturizers, steroid creams as well as ultraviolet light, along with antihistamines to relieve their itching.
They work quite well for mild cases of eczema but not cases that are considered severe and the form that is most common known as atopic dermatitis.
Due to that, an industry analyst wrote that the market expectations for the medication are high due to a need that has been unmet in this particular patient group.
Sales are expected to increase slowly and reach $3.4 billion in 8 years.
Often times eczema begins in children and the majority of them grow out of it, a professor of dermatology explained, but for others it persists through adulthood, tormenting the patient with itching causing scratching and skin swelling, cracking then weeping which is the seeping of a clear fluid.
Many sufferers gave up on all healthcare due to the industry not offering anything new for many years.
The medication is expected to meet some criticism for its price, but will likely be discounted to a lower cost when it finally reaches the patient.