What are biologics?
Biologic drugs, or “biologics,” are among the most targeted therapies available today because they essentially use human DNA to treat certain diseases at the immune system level. Taken subcutaneously (through the skin) or intravenously (in the vein), biologics are genetically engineered medications that contain proteins derived from living tissues or cells cultured in a laboratory.
How do biologics work?
The immune system produces a certain type of protein chemical messenger called an interleukin, abbreviated IL, that helps our body fight off harmful viruses and bacteria. But for people with inflammatory diseases like atopic dermatitis, the immune system overreacts and triggers the release of certain ILs resulting in inflammation. This chronic inflammation leads to itchy, red patches on the skin and other symptoms common to many types of eczema.
Biologics for atopic dermatitis block specific ILs from binding to their cell surface receptors, which stops or limits that part of the immune system response. A calmer immune system means lower or less severe inflammation and therefore fewer symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
Dupixent® (dupilumab) is a biologic medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults and children aged 6 years and up with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis for whom topical treatments have not worked or are not advised.
Dupilumab works to inhibit two interleukins that contribute to atopic dermatitis, IL-4 and IL-13, which can be produced by many cells of the immune system and have been found to contribute to the inflammatory processes and decreased barrier functions in atopic dermatitis. By blocking IL-4 and IL-13 from binding to their cell receptors, dupilumab can lessen inflammation and decrease the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.
The most commonly reported side effects of dupilumab are:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Injection site reactions
- Cold sores on the mouth or lips
Visit our New Prescription Treatments hub to learn about newly-approved prescription eczema treatments.
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