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Innovative treatments for severe refractory asthma: how to choose the right option for the right patient?

Authors Menzella F, Galeone C, Bertolini F, Castagnetti C, Facciolongo N

Received 15 June 2017

Accepted for publication 8 August 2017

Published 30 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 237—247

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JAA.S144100

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Amrita Dosanjh


Francesco Menzella,1 Carla Galeone,1 Francesca Bertolini,2 Claudia Castagnetti,1 Nicola Facciolongo1

1Department of Medical Specialties, Pneumology Unit, IRCCS- Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

Abstract: The increasing understanding of the molecular biology and the etiopathogenetic mechanisms of asthma helps in identification of numerous phenotypes and endotypes, particularly for severe refractory asthma. For a decade, the only available biologic therapy that met the unmet needs of a specific group of patients with severe uncontrolled allergic asthma has been omalizumab. Recently, new biologic therapies with different mechanisms of action and targets have been approved for marketing, such as mepolizumab. Other promising drugs will be available in the coming years, such as reslizumab, benralizumab, dupilumab and lebrikizumab. Moreover, since 2010, bronchial thermoplasty has been successfully introduced for a limited number of patients. This is a nonpharmacologic endoscopic procedure which is considered a promising therapy, even though several aspects still need to be clarified. Despite the increasing availability of new therapies, one of the major problems of each treatment is still the identification of the most suitable patients. This sudden abundance of therapeutic options, sometimes partially overlapping with each other, increases the importance to identify new biomarkers useful to guide the clinician in selecting the most appropriate patients and treatments, without forgetting the drug-economic aspects seen in elevated direct cost of new therapies. The aim of this review is, therefore, to update the clinician on the state of the art of therapies available for refractory asthma and, above all, to give useful directions that will help understand the different choices that sometimes partially overlap and to dispel the possible doubts that still exist.

Keywords: severe asthma, phenotypes, monoclonal antibodies, IL-5, bronchial thermoplasty, biomarkers

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