Dupixent for Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as “eczema” is a complex skin disease of unclear cause. The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis in children and adults may include the following:
- dry itchy skin
- rashes in skin creases
- family history of hayfever, asthma or atopic
- hand eczema
- eyelid dermatitis
- chronic hard, intensely itchy bumps or plaques
Since there are other diseases with many of these symptoms, the diagnosis is best made by a dermatologist. Dupixent, or Dupilumab is an injectable medication for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. It is a monoclonal IL-4 receptor blocker that reduces the inflammation in the skin. It has been approved for individuals age 12 and over with moderate to severe disease.
Dupixent has been evaluated in several large trials and the bottom line is that about 40-50% of patients will experience 75% improvement in their symptoms. The primary adverse reaction to Dupixent is itching and redness of the eye, which has been reported in 2%-10% of patients. Serious side effects occur in < 1%. Other issues to be considered include latent infections, pregnancy and vaccination status.
My experience with this medication has been that it is life-changing for those suffering from the intractable itching of atopic dermatitis. I have been able to reduce the need for prescription creams and get patients off riskier treatments. The average wholesale price as of January 2020 is $38,000/year. Most insurance companies will approve Dupixent if their criteria are met. Medicare recipients on Part D have high insurance cop-pays and we use all are resources to help gain access.