- Open Access
Improvement of quality of life in patients with concomitant allergic asthma and atopic dermatitis: one year follow-up of omalizumab therapy
© I. Holzapfel Publishers 2011
Received: 29 November 2010
Accepted: 2 December 2010
Published: 12 September 2011
Anti IgE treatment with omalizumab is efficacious in the treatment of patients suffering from allergic asthma, improving asthma control and improving quality of life. Furthermore, this approach could be beneficial for patients with concomitant atopic dermatitis. We assessed quality of life and asthma control in atopic patients with allergic asthma and concomitant atopic dermatitis versus those with asthma and without atopic dermatitis treated with omalizumab.
A total of 22 patients with severe allergic asthma were treated with omalizumab for 12 months. 13 patients with allergic asthma without concomitant atopic dermatitis (IgE 212 ± 224 IU/ml) and 9 patients with concomitant allergic asthma and atopic dermatitis (IgE 3,528 ± 2,723 IU/ml) were included. Asthma-related quality of life (AQLQ), atopic dermatitis related quality of life (DLQI), and asthma-related treatment were compared between both groups at baseline and after initiating omalizumab treatment.
DLQI was significantly in favor of omalizumab after 2 months in the atopic dermatitis/asthma group (P = 0.01); AQLQ was improved after 6 months in the asthma group (P = 0.01), while no change was seen in AQLQ in the atopic dermatitis/asthma group (P = 0.12). Omalizumab controlled oral corticosteroid use more effective (P < 0.01) in patients with asthma and atopic dermatitis (in 9/9 cases) compared to patients with asthma alone (9/13). Baseline IgE as well as other factors do not predict response to omalizumab.
Omalizumab is effective in improving atopic dermatitis-related quality of life scores and modulates oral corticosteroid use in patients with concomitant asthma and atopic dermatitis in a positive fashion.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic cutaneous inflammatory disease in childhood that often persists into adulthood . It is characterized by pruritic skin lesions and frequently associated with allergic asthma disease, and atopic diathesis, or both. The syndrome of atopy may include allergic rhino conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, and atopic dermatitis; most cases of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis do not respond adequate to any single therapeutic modality and many management strategies based on systemic or local corticosteroids are limited by their systemic toxicities. Currently, we do not have effective pharmacological monotherapies with acceptable safety profiles to control the symptoms of this disease in the long run.
Omalizumab is an anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) monoclonal antibody for use in IgE-mediated allergic asthma. The efficacy of omalizumab has been extensively evaluated in several clinical studies in patients with predominantly severe persistent allergic asthma [3, 5, 6, 11]. Omalizumab has proven effective over a wide range of outcome measures including asthma exacerbation rates, total emergency visit rates, and quality of life (QoL). Both diseases -- asthma and atopic dermatitis -- are associated with elevated serum IgE levels, that are strongly increased in patients with atopic dermatitis. Indeed, omalizumab has been experimentally used in various atopic skin diseases including atopic dermatitis with high IgE levels. Efficacy of omalizumab in atopic skin diseases is heterogeneous and ranges from very good efficacy to no effect at all in case reports and small studies [7–9, 13, 14]. However, no data exist on the evaluation of omalizumab treatment in patients with both atopic dermatitis and asthma.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of omalizumab in patients with concomitant asthma and atopic dermatitis versus those with asthma alone. In particular, we were interested in changges of quality of life and asthma control.
Patient characteristics, asthma-related quality of life (AQLQ), atopic dermatitis related quality of life (DLQI), and asthma-related treatment at baseline and after 6 and 12 months omalizumab therapy
Asthma + atopic dermatitis
47.5 ± 14.8
38.1 ± 11.3
212 ± 224
3528 ± 2723
71.5 ± 10,7
76.2 ± 7,4
Weight in kg
82.3 ± 22.0
76.3 ± 16.1
213 ± 86
233 ± 109
OCS 6 month
OCS 12 month
102 ± 40
143 ± 44
AQlQ 6 month
148 ± 48
175 ± 40
AQlQ 12 month
152 ± 45
170 ± 42
19 ± 10
DlQI 6 month
7 ± 8
DlQI 12 moth
6 ± 6
Whereas total serum IgE levels were > 30 to < 700 IU/ml (mean 212 ± 224 IU/ml) in patients with asthma alone, all patients with concomitant atopic dermatitis displayed total serum IgE values above 700 IU/ml (mean 3,528 ± 2,723 IU/ml). The dose of omalizumab (Xolair, Novartis, Nürnberg, Germany) was dependent on body weight and serum IgE levels and was administered every 2 or 4 weeks, as described [3, 6]. Patients with concomitant atopic dermatitis were treated regardless of IgE values with 150 mg s.c. in 14 day intervals based on the observation of previous work [1, 10]. Omalizumab dosage was increased up to a improvement of dermatological status; dosage did not exceed the maximal two week-dosage of 450 mg s.c. Asthma-related quality of life (AQLQ), atopic dermatitis related quality of life (DLQI) , and treatment with oral steroids were compared between both groups at baseline and 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 months after initiating omalizumab treatment. Adverse events were recorded at each treatment visit. 5 additional patients with asthma alone were excluded from study analysis due to anaphylactic reaction after first omalizumab injection (n = 1) or discontinuation of therapy due to unsatisfactory therapeutic effect on asthma despite correct dosage within the first six months (n = 4).
Probability was calculated with the students t-test; P values of < 0.05 were considered to be statistically significant. All studies have been carried out according to the Helsinki declaration of good clinical practice.
Patient characteristics, such as age, gender, and medication did not differ between patients with asthma (n = 13) and patients with concomitant asthma and atopic dermatitis (n = 9) and are presented in Table 1. All patients were receiving inhaled corticosteroids (> 1000 μg/day beclomethason dipropionate or equivalent) and long-acting β2-agonists (fixed combination of fluticason/salmeterol or budesonid/formeterol), 12/13 of patients with asthma and 7/9 of patients with asthma/atopic dermatitis received additional maintenance oral corticosteroid at baseline. Consistently, patients with asthma and atopic dermatitis showed significantly higher serum IgE values than patients with asthma alone (3,528 ± 2,723 IU/ml vs. 212 ± 224 IU/ml, P < 0.001). Of note, there was no significant difference between both groups regarding the omalizumab dosage.
Baseline IgE, age, body weight, FEV1 and dosage of omalizumab do not predict response to omalizumab.
Overall, 4 of the 22 patients having received 12 months omalizumab (18%) experienced at least one adverse effect: headache (n = 1), local reaction at point of injection (n = 4) and nausea (n = 1).
The present study is the first designed to evaluate the efficacy of omalizumab on quality of life (QoL) in patients with concomitant asthma and atopic dermatitis. Omalizumab is effective in improving atopic dermatitis-related QoL scores and modulates oral corticosteroid treatment. All patients had severe persistent asthma as defined by Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines . Omalizumab was used as an add-on treatment to standard management. Indeed, improvement in asthma QoL in the groups was similar and comparable to other reports with omalizumab [3, 6]. In addition, in the comorbid population suffering from atopic dermatitis and asthma, treatment with omalizumab resulted in significant improvements of atopic dermatitis-related QoL and in reduction of use of oral corticosteroids. Choice of the long-term observational interval (> 12 months) was based on the possibility and variability of placebo-induced clinical improvement in atopic dermatitis. This phenomenon was described in the first three months of observation period in up to 40% of the cases after initiation of a new treatment option . Of interest, changes in atopic dermatitis-related QoL were seen 2 months after initiating omalizumab treatment, whereas improved asthma QoL reached significance only after 6 months.
Of note, the present improvement of QoL scores in patients with concomitant atopic dermatitis and asthma was observed with low-dose anti IgE treatment (233 ± 109 mg/2 weeks) and, therefore, was in a much lower dosage than required for the complete removal of IgE from the circulation, as recently also described by Lim and Belloni [1, 10]. They had observed free IgE remained basically stable over the omalizumab treatment period and suggested other, molecular effects such as a switch to reduced IgE mRNA production responsible for skin improvement [1, 10]. One may speculate, that those patients with lower IgE levels would show a better QoL improvement, however, this is not shown by the present data. Indeed, mean IgE level 3,528 ± 2,723 IU/ml in the present study is even higher than in previous studies, for example 1,521 IU/ml in the work of Sheinkopf and colleagues .
There are several limitations of this single-center project with a small study collective that was designed as a pilot study, not as a randomized trial. The concept that underlies this study was the screening of the impact on quality of life brought on by omalizumab description in patients with atopic disease, as seen in "daily practice".
In conclusion, this study extends previously published reports on omalizumab in atopic dermatitis [1, 10, 13] by integrating patients with concomitant asthma and atopic dermatitis and found that omalizumab is significantly efficacious in improving disease-related QoL when added to standard asthma and atopic dermatitis therapies. Further placebo-controlled studies in this patient collective are warranted.
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