Established Treatment For Severe Eosinophilic Asthma Shows Clinical Efficacy For Patients With Asthma, COPD

A recent single-center, retrospective analysis1 found that anti-eosinophilic therapy with interleukin-5/interleukin-5 receptor (anti-IL-5/anti-IL-5R) antibodies was clinically effective in treating patients with severe eosinophilic asthma (SEA) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The researchers determined that after 6 months of treatment, patients with SEA and COPD also improved their pulmonary function testing, asthma control, and quality of life.

Although anti-eosinophilic therapy with anti-IL-5/anti-IL-5R antibodies is a standard treatment option for patients with SEA, previous studies did not show clinical efficacy for this treatment option in patients with COPD. But to the authors’ knowledge, no study has investigated the treatment response to anti-eosinophilic antibody therapy in patients with both SEA and COPD.

The authors retrospectively compared pulmonary function test scores, oral corticosteroid intake, quality of life, and pulmonary symptom control in patients with SEA and COPD (n = 42) vs 1:1 propensity score-matched patients with SEA alone (n = 42). All patients in the study (n = 84) received treatment with either mepolizumab or benralizumab.

After 6 months of treatment, patients in both groups showed improved forced expiratory volume (11% improvement in those with SEA and COPD and 15% improvement in those with SEA alone). The results also showed a decrease in oral corticosteroid dosages (median reduction by 3 mg in the SEA and COPD group vs 5 mg in the SEA alone group). Pulmonary symptom control and quality of life improved in both groups, and a decrease in eosinophils could be measured in both groups as well.

“In this retrospective real-life study, we could show that treatment with anti-IL-5/anti-IL-5R antibodies is highly clinically effective not only in patients with SEA but also in patients with SEA and COPD,” the authors concluded.


—Anthony Calabro



  1. Drick N, Fuge J, Seeliger B, et al. Treatment with interleukin (IL)-5/IL-5 receptor antibodies in patients with severe eosinophilic asthma and COPD. ERJ Open Res. 2022;8(4):00207-2022. Published October 24, 2022. doi:10.1183/23120541.00207-2022