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Medically reviewed by Dr. Samuel Sarmiento, M.D., MPH on August 3, 2023

Dupilumab is typically used in children and adults with atopic dermatitis. A recent study provides insights into the effectiveness and safety of this drug for older patients. 

  • Those over 65 years old may find treating atopic dermatitis challenging due to the presence of other health conditions as well as side effects from common atopic dermatitis drugs.
  • Dupilumab, a monoclonal antibody drug, may be effective and safe for elderly patients.
  • Patients treated with dupilumab showed significant improvement in their eczema symptoms.
  • No serious adverse events were reported in the study.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common inflammatory skin disease affecting individuals of all ages. Recently, healthcare providers have recognized that treating AD in older people may be more challenging. This is partly because older people may often have other health problems in addition to AD, and the usual drugs used for AD, like cyclosporin, can cause intolerable side effects.

Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody drug that has been approved for treating moderate-to-severe AD in children and adults. However, there hasn’t been much research into the effects and safety of dupilumab in adults over 65 years of age. One recent report published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment explored its potential benefits for this age group.

What Were the Findings of the Study?

The average age of these patients was 76 years, and the majority first began experiencing AD after they had turned 65. The results were encouraging. Patients saw a significant decrease in their symptoms from the beginning of the study through to the 16-week mark, as revealed by their scores on the Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI), a scale that measures the severity of the disease. This improvement continued even after two years of follow-up. Importantly, the treatment didn’t lead to any serious adverse events.

What the Study Means for Older People With Atopic Dermatitis

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Older people are often underrepresented in clinical trials for AD drugs. This means we don’t have a lot of information about how well treatments like dupilumab work in older patients living with AD. However, this report suggests that dupilumab could be a viable option. While these results are promising, more research is needed to further validate dupilumab’s benefits in older adults. 

Source:

Gargiulo, L., Piscazzi, F., Ibba, L., Valenti, M., Facheris, P., Perugini, C., Costanzo, A., & Narcisi, A. (2023). Dupilumab for the treatment of atopic dermatitis of the elderly: a real-life 52-week experience. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/09546634.2023.2192840