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New Drug Promising for Hypereosinophilic Syndromes

Anti-interleukin-5 treatment reduced steroid requirement

MONDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mepolizumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against interleukin-5, is a promising new treatment for hypereosinophilic syndromes, controlling disease activity while allowing reduction of corticosteroid doses, according to an article published online March 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Marc E. Rothenberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and colleagues randomized 85 adults with hypereosinophilic syndromes who were negative for the FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene to receive a monthly intravenous infusion of mepolizumab or placebo for 36 weeks, during which time the prednisone dose was tapered. A reduction of prednisone dose to 10 mg or less per day for eight or more consecutive weeks was the primary endpoint.

Prednisone was able to be tapered to the primary endpoint without any increase in disease activity in 84 percent of patients in the mepolizumab group, compared to 43 percent of patients in the placebo group, the researchers report. Serious adverse events were similar between groups.

"With its ability to combat eosinophilia and prevent infiltration of and damage to organ tissue by eosinophils, anti-interleukin-5 treatment certainly brings new hope to many patients with the hypereosinophilic syndromes whose disease is currently refractory to conventional therapies or who have side effects from them," the author of an associated editorial writes.

This study was partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline. The authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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