The study included 214 patients, 105 of whom were randomized to receive an injection of risankizumab every 4 weeks over a 24-week period, while 109 patients received a placebo.
The test results published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a drug approved to treat psoriasis worsened symptoms of severe asthma in patients with the disease, according to a press release from University Hospitals in Leicester.
The study looked at whether risankizumab could potentially improve symptoms and reduce seizures in people with severe asthma. The study included 214 patients, 105 of whom were randomized to receive an injection of risankizumab every 4 weeks over a 24-week period, while 109 patients received a placebo.
The time to first worsening was determined by increased symptoms, worsening breathing tests, increased use of inhalers, and the need for steroid tablets. Patients treated with risankizumab had a mean time to first worsening of 40 days, compared with 86 days for patients given placebo. An examination of the gene signatures of immune cells in respiratory tract samples showed that risankizumab decreased the number of molecules known to be important in protecting against infections, which may explain the poorer asthma control observed, according to study.
“It’s always disappointing when a potential treatment proves ineffective in treating a disease, especially when it worsens symptoms,” said Chris Brightling, study leader, senior researcher at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) at NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research. Center, in a statement. “We believe that risankizumab reduces the presence of substances in the airways which are important factors in preventing infections, which likely worsens patients’ symptoms. This theory is supported by molecular profiling, which shows reduced levels of these substances in samples taken from patients participating in the trial.