Is Asthma Exacerbation Severity Greater Among Men or Women?

Women are more likely to have greater asthma exacerbation severity than men, according to results of a new analysis. Still, the findings show that individuals of both genders responded similarly to benralizumab.

To compare the asthma exacerbation severity between men and women, the researchers analyzed data from the 48-week SIROCCO study and the 56-week CALIMA study. 

The data included patients aged 12 to 75 years with baseline blood eosinophil counts (BECs) of 300 cells/mL or greater. The patients had used high-dose inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting β agonist and had had 2 or more previous exacerbations.

The patients had also received benralizumab, 30 mg, subcutaneously every 4 weeks (Q4W) or every 8 weeks (first 3 doses Q4W) or placebo. 

The post-hoc analysis of the studies’ pooled data revealed the following: 

  • Women were less likely to have atopic asthma (57.9%) than men (66.9%). 
  • Women had a lesser mean IgE concentration (514 IU/mL, n5996) than men (771 IU/mL, n5568).
  • BECs were similar between women (470 cells/mL) and men (480 cells/mL).
  • Asthma reversibility was 26.4% for women and 25.0% for men. 
  • The baseline exacerbation rate was 2.9 for women and 2.8 for men.
  • Having 3 or more exacerbations was more common among women (41.5%) than men (36.1%).
  • More women than men had exacerbations that led to hospitalization or emergency department visits.
  • Mechanical ventilation was needed more often for women (4.0%) than men (2.8%).


Differences in comorbidities were also observed. 

In addition, women and men responded similarly to benralizumab.

“Exacerbation reductions with benralizumab were similar between women and men,” the researchers concluded. 

—Colleen Murphy


Ryan O, Katial R, Hirsch I, Kreindler J. 664 - Asthma exacerbation severity is greater for women than for men. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020;145(2).