The Egyptian Drug Authority (EDA) approved last April Dupixent (dupilumab) for medical use in adults and adolescents for two chronic diseases. Sanofi Egypt launched Dupixent at a press conference on Sunday.
Dupixent is a treatment to moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis whose disease is not adequately controlled with topical prescription therapies or when those therapies are not advisable
It is also an add-on maintenance treatment for severe asthma with type 2 inflammation.
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that often appears as a rash on the skin. Moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis is characterized by rashes that can potentially cover much of the body, and can include intense, persistent itching, skin dryness and skin lesions including cracking, redness or darkness, crusting and oozing. Itch is one of the most burdensome symptoms for patients and can be debilitating. Inadequately controlled atopic dermatitis can have a physical, emotional and psychosocial impact, causing sleep disturbance, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and feelings of isolation.
“According to recent research, AD affected 171 million people in 2019(8). 15-20% of children (9) and 1-3% of adults,” said Professor Dr. Assem Farag – Professor of Dermatology and Venereology- Chairman of Sharm Derma Academy
The limited treatment options in Egypt for moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis has left many patients and those who care for them coping with the physical and emotional burden of the disease,
“We support timely access to this important new medication for those with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis to help them control and provide relief for this life-altering, often severely debilitating, chronic disease,” Farag said.
He added, “Sometimes conventional medicine is unable to provide a radical solution to some skin diseases. The currently used therapeutic protocols only give the patient some local comfort through the use of some types of unsafe medicines for long-term use (some types of creams or ointments that contain corticosteroids, antibiotics, and drugs that suppress the functioning of the immune system). They may cause some serious side effects such as stunted growth, weakened immune system, and other problems. For this reason, these medicines are given for periods they are limited and only in severe infections. Also, given that the genetic causes of Atopic Dermatitis are still not fully understood yet, conventional treatments may provide limited and only temporary control over the symptoms of the disease, but they are unable – unfortunately – to provide a radical solution to this disease.”
Dupixent is a fully-human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the signaling of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) and interleukin-13 (IL-13) proteins, and is not an immunosuppressant. IL-4 and IL-13 are key and central drivers of the type 2 inflammation that plays a major role in atopic dermatitis and asthma.
“Globally, one out of 10 persons(11) is affected with AD and the prevalence rate is highest in early childhood. ” said Professor Dr. Mahira Hamdy El Sayed Professor of Dermatology & Venereology at Ain Shams University, Head of Egyptian Society of Dermatology.
In Egypt, DUPIXENT is indicated for the treatment of patients aged 12 and older with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis whose disease is not adequately controlled with topical prescription therapies or when those therapies are not advisable. Dupixent is the only biologic medicine approved for this patient population.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease caused by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. It causes airways to narrow and swell and produce mucus. The main symptoms are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath but severe asthma attacks can even lead to hospitalization. Currently, there is no cure for asthma and treatments available are used to control the symptoms (reliever) or to reduce the frequency and severity of the attacks (controller).
“According to the WHO, asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 461000 deaths (12),” said Professor Dr. Adel Khattab Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Ain Shams University- Vice President of Egyptian Scientific Society of Bronchology.
People whose severe asthma is inadequately controlled on current therapy continue to have trouble breathing and suffer potentially life-threatening exacerbations. This daily burden and unpredictability can significantly diminish quality of life, causing missed days of school, work and social activities,” “We, as physicians, welcome the addition of new treatments such as Dupixent, designed to help those with severe asthma take control of their symptoms and get on with their daily lives.”
“Type 2 inflammation is responsible for many of the hallmark symptoms of asthma – and Dupixent is the first and only biological treatment approved for patients in Egypt with severe asthma characterized by multiple biomarkers of type 2 inflammation,” said Professor Dr. Gihan El-Assal Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Ain Shams University.
She added, “Dupixent not only reduced exacerbations and oral corticosteroid use, but it also improved lung function and patients’ overall quality of life. Dupixent offers a new treatment option for those who remain inadequately controlled with current medications, including those dependent on oral corticosteroids – which may have potentially serious side effects when used chronically.”
“Sanofi Genzyme is committed to delivering transformative therapies for Egyptian patients with special unmet medical needs with innovative products furthermore providing hope where there was none before. That’s why Dupixent (dupilumab) is considered a new hope for patients and one of the recent innovative medical treatments offered by Sanofi Genzyme for patients with moderate-to-severe Atopic Dermatitis and severe Asthma,” said Ahmed Hegazy General Manager Sanofi Genzyme in Egypt and Sudan
He added that Dupixent (dupilumab) has been successfully launched in 60 countries all over the world. Its launch in Egypt is a cornerstone for treating patients with asthma and atopic dermatitis.