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Earlier this month, dupilumab became the first and only biologic medicine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in patients of all ages, from infancy through adulthood.
The approval of dupilumab as an add-on maintenance therapy for children 6 months to 5 years with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis was described as “a tremendous advancement” by Mercades E. Gonzalez, MD, FAAD, pediatric dermatologist at Pediatric Dermatology of Miami.
Gonzalez joined the DocTalk program to speak on the unmet need for therapies such as dupilumab for young children affected by AD, and the various psychological and mental burdens of the skin disease.
“Atopic dermatitis is something that really is a disease of young children,” she said. “Over 85% of affected children present in the first 5 years of life with their first symptoms of atopic dermatitis.”
Prior to this approval, Gonzalez noted that the approach to treating AD in young patients would often involve potent topical corticosteroids that would be issued only after parents/guardians noticed signs and symptoms of a flare up.
After a certain point, TCS would no longer provide prolonged periods of itch and eczema maintenance, and systemic immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine would be prescribed.
With dupilumab, dermatologists can now engage in the interruption of cytokine signaling associated with AD, which Gonzalez cited as “a completely different approach” to dermatologic therapy.
“The fact that it's not an immunosuppressant is also very helpful in the fact that we do not have to have any blood monitoring prior to starting or ongoing blood monitoring while the children are on the medication,” she noted. “so when children are on dupilumab, what happens is that they tend to need their topical corticosteroids less and less often. So, you really have these prolonged periods with symptom-free, itch-free skin.”
To hear more from Dr. Gonzalez on how the latest dupilumab approval aids dermatologists in determining the underlying pathophysiology of skin diseases such as AD, listen to the full interview above.