Risankizumab Not Beneficial for Severe Asthma in Adults

Asthma diagram, lungs
Asthma diagram, lungs
In phase 2a trial, time to first asthma worsening shorter with risankizumab compared with placebo

HealthDay News — For adults with severe asthma, risankizumab is not beneficial, with a shorter time to the first asthma worsening, according to a study published online October 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Christopher E. Brightling, MBBS, PhD, from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a phase 2a, multicenter, randomized, 24-week trial involving adults with severe asthma. Patients were randomly assigned to receive the anti-interleukin-23p19 monoclonal antibody risankizumab or placebo (105 and 109 patients, respectively), administered subcutaneously once every four weeks.

The researchers observed a shorter time to first asthma worsening with risankizumab versus placebo (median, 40 vs 86 days; hazard ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.04; P =.03). For annualized asthma worsening, the rate ratio with risankizumab vs placebo was 1.49 (95% CI, 1.12 to 1.99); for severe exacerbations, the rate ratio was 1.13 (95% CI, 0.75 to 1.70). There was downregulation of genes involved in the activation of natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells and the activation of type 1 helper T and type 17 helper T transcription factors with risankizumab. Risankizumab therapy was not associated with any safety concerns.

“These findings undermine the role of interleukin-23 and the Th17 axis as targets for the treatment of asthma,” the authors write.

The study was funded by AbbVie and Boehringer Ingelheim; AbbVie manufactures risankizumab.

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