Dupixent is prescribed to patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, which is also known eczema. It is injected subcutaneously once every other week.
How Dupixent Treats Eczema
In a normally functioning immune system, a protein called interleukin (IL) fights off the viruses and bacteria attacking our bodies. However, sometimes the immune system overreacts and causes interleukins to instead attack the body, which is what triggers inflammatory conditions like atopic dermatitis, specifically eczema. Dupixent blocks interleukin from binding to the appropriate cell receptors, reducing the overreaction that causes inflammation.
More specifically, Dupixent works on the two interleukins believed to contribute to most atopic diseases, which are IL-4 and IL-13. By blocking IL-4 and IL-13 from binding to their cell receptors, the immune system remains calm and as a result, symptoms of eczema will be less severe and less frequent.
Dupixent comes in the form of an injection, rather than a pill or a cream because it is made up of proteins. Dupixent is a biologic drug, and this class of medicines is genetically engineered from proteins derived from living cells or tissues. If Dupixent was given as a pill, for example, the proteins that make it up would be broken down by the digestive tract, which would diminish the effect of the drug. Dupixent can’t be applied as a cream because it is considered a ‘large molecule’ drug, meaning that it can’t penetrate the skin’s surface to properly carry the medication to the immune system. Therefore, an injection is the only option.
Eczema is considered a chronic condition. This means that Dupixent, like all other atopic dermatitis treatments, must be used continually in order to keep flare-ups at bay. Once stopped, the symptoms will likely return.
Dupixent is not meant for children. It has only been approved for adults.
The most common side effects from taking Dupixent are conjunctivitis (pink eye), injection site infections, and cold sores on the mouth or lips.
Speak to your doctor to find out if Dupixent is right for you.
Featured image: gustavofrazao via DepositPhotos