Asthma Severity Worse for Women Despite Similar Response to Benralizumab

Woman in bed with inhalers.
Woman in bed with inhalers.
Although women are more likely than men to experience more severe asthma, they respond similarly to benralizumab therapy.

After careful consideration, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology canceled its annual meeting that was to take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from March 13 to 16, because of concerns regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Although the live events will not proceed as planned, our readers can still find coverage of research that was scheduled to be presented at the meeting.

Although women are more likely than men to experience more severe asthma, they respond similarly to benralizumab therapy, according to research intended to be presented at the 2020 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.

Researchers conducted a post hoc analysis of pooled data from the 48-week SIROCCO trial ( Identifier NCT01928771) and the 56-week CALIMA trial ( Identifier NCT01914757), both of which examined asthma exacerbation severity in men and women with baseline blood eosinophil counts of ≥300 cells/µL. Study participants were between 12 and 75 years of age and had high-dosage ICS/LABA use, as well as ≥2 previous exacerbations. In terms of treatment, patients received benralizumab 30 mg subcutaneously every 4 weeks, every 8 weeks, or placebo.

Overall, mean immunoglobulin E concentrations were lower for women (n=996; 514 IU/µL) compared with men (n=568; 771 IU/mL). Blood eosinophil counts were similar between both genders (470 cells/µL for women and 480 cells/ µL for men), and a smaller percentage of women compared with men had atopic asthma (57.9% vs 66.9%). Asthma reversibility was slightly higher in women than in men (26.4% vs 25.0%).

At baseline, exacerbation rates were 2.9 and 2.8 for women and men, respectively. More women than men had ≥3 exacerbations (41.5% vs 36.1%, respectively), and more women also had exacerbations leading to hospitalization: 14.9% vs 10.9% for 1 exacerbation and 7.5% vs 6.2% for 2 exacerbations. Additionally, more women required the use of mechanical ventilation (4.0% vs 2.8%). With benralizumab, exacerbation reductions were similar in both women and men.

“Women and men responded similarly to benralizumab, although women had more severe disease, were less likely to have atopic asthma, and had [lower immunoglobulin E] concentrations,” the researchers concluded.

Related Articles

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

Visit MPR‘s conference section for more coverage from AAAAI 2020.


Ryan O, Katial R, Hirsch I, Kreindler J. Asthma exacerbation severity is greater for women than for men. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;145(Suppl 2):AB206. 

This article originally appeared on Pulmonology Advisor