Study: Severe Asthma Symptoms Worsen When Treated With Psoriasis Medicine

The study enrolled 214 patients, with 105 randomized to a risankizumab injection every 4 weeks over a 24-week period, while 109 patients received a placebo.

Trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a medicine licensed to treat psoriasis worsened the symptoms of severe asthma in patients with the condition, according to a University Hospitals of Leicester press release.

The study analyzed whether risankizumab could potentially improve the symptoms and reduce attacks in those with severe asthma. The study enrolled 214 patients, with 105 randomized to a risankizumab injection every 4 weeks over a 24-week period, while 109 patients received a placebo.

The time-to-first worsening was determined by increasing symptoms, deterioration in breathing tests, increased use of inhalers, and need for steroid tablets. Patients treated with risankizumab had an average time-to-first worsening of 40 days, compared to 86 days for patients given a placebo. An examination of gene signatures from immune cells in airway samples showed risankizumab decreased molecules known to be important in protection against infection, which could explain the observed poorer asthma control, according to the study.

“It is always disappointing when a potential treatment is shown to be ineffective at treating a disease, more so when it makes symptoms worse,” said study lead Chris Brightling, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) senior investigator at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, in a press release. “We think risankizumab reduces the presence of substances in the airways that are important factors in preventing infections, which probably makes the patients’ symptoms worse. This theory is backed by molecular profiling, which shows reduced levels of these substances in samples taken from patients on the trial.”

REFERENCE

Severe asthma symptoms worsen when treated with psoriasis medicine, study finds. University Hospitals of Leicester. October 28, 2021. Accessed November 1, 2021. https://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/our-news/press-release-centre/2021/severe-asthma-symptoms-worsen-when-treated-with-psoriasis-medicine-study-finds/