Trending News Today: Atopic Dermatitis Drug Shows Promise

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A monthly injection of the antibody nemolizumab may help reduce itching and clear up patches of dry and inflamed skin in individuals with atopic dermatitis, according to NPR. In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators randomized 216 patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis to receive either a placebo or a low, moderate, or high dose of nemolizumab, injected once per month. The results showed that patients in the low dose arm had a 44% reduction in itching; 60% reduction for the moderate dose arm, and 63% less itching in the high dose arm. “There was a consistent improvement across the dosing range and the best one was the moderate dose,” said investigator Jon Hanifin. “So, we may be able to treat patients with small doses [than we though].” Nemolizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody, designed to block the production of interleukins and prevent the loss of the protective proteins, NPR reported.

Maryland Gov Larry Hogan will sign an executive order to declare a state of emergency for the state’s opioid crisis, according to The Washington Post. The governor also committed an additional $50 million over the next 5 years to increase enforcement and prevention efforts, along with treatment services. In the first 9 months of 2016, heroin and fentanyl killed 1468 Maryland residents, a number that increased 62% from the same period in 2015.

The California Department of Public Health said it will prioritize inspections at facilities identified as having high rates of patient infections, according to Los Angeles Times. The announcement came in the wake of harsh criticism over the state doing little to stop deadly hospital outbreaks. Earlier this year, the national nonprofit group Consumers Union filed a petition with the state that lists scores of hospitals with abnormally high infection rates that had not been inspected in 5 years, the LA Times reported. California’s state law requires hospitals to be inspected every 3 years, but 131 California hospitals failed to be inspected within the last 5 years, 80 of which reported significantly higher infection rates. The Consumers Union called the state’s response an important first step, but that more needs to be done. “For too long, the state has relied on voluntary efforts by hospitals to lower infection rates, and that clearly hasn’t been working,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of the group’s Safe Patient Project. “Now it’s time for the state to use its enforcement power to require poor performing hospitals to take action and keep patients safe.”