Nemolizumab is associated with a rapid improvement in atopic dermatitis signs and symptoms: subpopulation (EASI ≥ 16) analysis of randomized phase 2B study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology








© 2021 Galderma SA. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Background: Nemolizumab is a humanized anti-IL-31 receptor blocker in phase 3 for atopic dermatitis (AD). Objective: Analyse onset of action of nemolizumab 30 mg and compare efficacy and safety vs placebo (SC q4wk plus loading dose) in moderate-to-severe AD. Methods: Post hoc analysis of patients with Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) scores ≥ 16 from a phase 2b trial of moderate-to-severe AD. Endpoints were change in EASI score at week 16, peak pruritus numeric rating scale (PP-NRS), Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA), changes in sleep and responders with ≥ 4-point improvement on PP-NRS. Results: There was a significantly greater itch relief apparent by Day 2 (−22.8% vs –12.3% PP-NRS; P = 0.005) which continued to improve through week 16 (−68.5% vs −30.9% PP-NRS; P < 0.001). At week 16, PP-NRS ≥ 4-point response of itch was observed in 68.0% nemolizumab vs 15.9% placebo patients (P ≤ 0.001). There was also a rapid improvement of sleep disturbance with nemolizumab 30 mg, with a significant separation from placebo by Day 3 (−26.6% vs –9.0%; P < 0.001) which further improved till week 16 (−76.0% vs −36.5%; P < 0.001). Also for the EASI score a separation between groups in favour of nemolizumab was observed by week 1 (P ≤ 0.001), which increased through week 16 (−68.6% vs. −42.6%; P = 0.002). Finally, the degree of response was greater in nemolizumab-treated patients; clinically relevant reductions of 75% EASI were observed in 50.0% of nemolizumab patients versus 15.9% of placebo patients, while 90% reductions were reported for 36.0% and 6.8% of patients, respectively (P < 0.001 for both). IGA success (score of 0/1) was 32.0% for nemolizumab vs 6.8% for placebo (P = 0.002). Nemolizumab was safe and well-tolerated in this population; nasopharyngitis and upper respiratory tract infection were the most common adverse events. Conclusions: Nemolizumab resulted in very rapid, sustained improvements of inflammation, pruritus and sleep in patients with EASI ≥ 16 at baseline.