Dupilumab efficacy and safety in adults with uncontrolled persistent asthma despite use of medium-to-high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus a long-acting β2 agonist: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled pivotal phase 2b dose-ranging trial


Dupilumab, a fully human anti-interleukin-4 receptor α monoclonal antibody, inhibits interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signalling, key drivers of type-2-mediated inflammation. Adults with uncontrolled persistent asthma who are receiving medium-to-high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus a long-acting β2 agonist require additional treatment options as add-on therapy. We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of dupilumab as add-on therapy in patients with uncontrolled persistent asthma on medium-to-high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus a long-acting β2 agonist, irrespective of baseline eosinophil count.


We did this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, pivotal phase 2b clinical trial at 174 study sites across 16 countries or regions. Adults (aged ≥18 years) with an asthma diagnosis for 12 months or more based on the Global Initiative for Asthma 2009 Guidelines receiving treatment with medium-to-high-dose inhaled corticosteroids plus a long-acting β2 agonist were eligible for participation. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1:1:1:1) to receive subcutaneous dupilumab 200 mg or 300 mg every 2 weeks or every 4 weeks, or placebo, over a 24-week period. The primary endpoint was change from baseline at week 12 in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1 in L) in patients with baseline blood eosinophil counts of at least 300 eosinophils per μL assessed in the intention-to-treat population. Safety outcomes were assessed in all patients that received at least one dose or part of a dose of study drug. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, numberNCT01854047, and with the EU Clinical Trials Register, EudraCT number 2013-000856-16.


769 patients (158 in the placebo group and 611 in the dupilumab groups) received at least one dose of study drug. In the subgroup with at least 300 eosinophils per μL, the greatest increases (200 mg every 2 weeks, p=0·0008; 300 mg every 2 weeks, p=0·0063) in FEV1 compared with placebo were observed at week 12 with doses every 2 weeks in the 300 mg group (mean change 0·39 L [SE 0·05]; mean difference 0·21 [95% CI 0·06–0·36; p=0·0063]) and in the 200 mg group (mean change 0·43 L [SE 0·05]; mean difference 0·26 [0·11–0·40; p=0·0008]) compared with placebo (0·18 L [SE 0·05]). Similar significant increases were observed in the overall population and in the fewer than 300 eosinophils per μL subgroup (overall population: 200 mg every 2 weeks, p<0·0001; 300 mg every 2 weeks, p<0·0001; <300 eosinophils per μL: 200 mg every 2 weeks, p=0·0034; 300 mg every 2 weeks, p=0·0086), and were maintained to week 24. Likewise, dupilumab every 2 weeks produced the greatest reductions in annualised rates of exacerbation in the overall population (70–70·5%), the subgroup with at least 300 eosinophils per μL (71·2–80·7%), and the subgroup with fewer than 300 eosinophils per μL (59·9–67·6%). The most common adverse events with dupilumab compared with placebo were upper respiratory tract infections (33–41% vs 35%) and injection-site reactions (13–26% vs 13%).


Dupilumab increased lung function and reduced severe exacerbations in patients with uncontrolled persistent asthma irrespective of baseline eosinophil count and had a favourable safety profile, and hence in addition to inhaled corticosteroids plus long-acting β2-agonist therapy could improve the lives of patients with uncontrolled persistent asthma compared with standard therapy alone.


Sanofi-Genzyme and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Lancet, Volume 388, No. 10039, p31–44, 2 July 2016

Discontinuation and restarting in patients on statin treatment: prospective open cohort study using a primary care database

Objectives To estimate rates of discontinuation and restarting of statins, and to identify patient characteristics associated with either discontinuation or restarting.

Design Prospective open cohort study.

Setting 664 general practices contributing to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink in the United Kingdom. Data extracted in October 2014.

Participants Incident statin users aged 25-84 years identified between January 2002 and September 2013. Patients with statin prescriptions divided into two groups: primary prevention and secondary prevention (those already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease). Patients with statin prescriptions in the 12 months before study entry were excluded.

Main outcome measures Discontinuation of statin treatment (first 90 day gap after the estimated end date of a statin prescription), and restarting statin treatment for those who discontinued (defined as any subsequent prescription between discontinuation and study end).

Results Of 431 023 patients prescribed statins as primary prevention with a median follow-up time of 137 weeks, 47% (n=204 622) discontinued treatment and 72% (n=147 305) of those who discontinued restarted. Of 139 314 patients prescribed statins as secondary prevention with median follow-up time of 182 weeks, 41% (n=57 791) discontinued treatment and 75% (43 211) of those who discontinued restarted. Younger patients (aged ≤50 years), older patients (≥75 years), women, and patients with chronic liver disease were more likely to discontinue statins and less likely to restart. However, patients in ethnic minority groups, current smokers, and patients with type 1 diabetes were more likely to discontinue treatment but then were more likely to restart, whereas patients with hypertension and type 2 diabetes were less likely to discontinue treatment and more likely to restart if they did discontinue. These results were mainly consistent in the primary prevention and secondary prevention groups.

Conclusions Although a large proportion of statin users discontinue, many of them restart. For many patient groups previously considered as “stoppers,” the problem of statin treatment “stopping” could be part of the wider issue of poor adherence. Identification of patient groups associated with completely stopping or stop-starting behaviour has positive implications for patients and doctors as well as suggesting areas for future research.

BMJ 2016;353:i3305

Impact of statin related media coverage on use of statins: interrupted time series analysis with UK primary care data

Objective To quantify how a period of intense media coverage of controversy over the risk:benefit balance of statins affected their use.

Design Interrupted time series analysis of prospectively collected electronic data from primary care.

Setting Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) in the United Kingdom.

Participants Patients newly eligible for or currently taking statins for primary and secondary cardiovascular disease prevention in each month in January 2011-March 2015.

Main outcome measures Adjusted odds ratios for starting/stopping taking statins after the media coverage (October 2013-March 2014).

Results There was no evidence that the period of high media coverage was associated with changes in statin initiation among patients with a high recorded risk score for cardiovascular disease (primary prevention) or a recent cardiovascular event (secondary prevention) (odds ratio 0.99 (95% confidence interval 0.87 to 1.13; P=0.92) and 1.04 (0.92 to 1.18; P=0.54), respectively), though there was a decrease in the overall proportion of patients with a recorded risk score. Patients already taking statins were more likely to stop taking them for both primary and secondary prevention after the high media coverage period (1.11 (1.05 to 1.18; P<0.001) and 1.12 (1.04 to 1.21; P=0.003), respectively). Stratified analyses showed that older patients and those with a longer continuous prescription were more likely to stop taking statins after the media coverage. In post hoc analyses, the increased rates of cessation were no longer observed after six months.

Conclusions A period of intense public discussion over the risks:benefit balance of statins, covered widely in the media, was followed by a transient rise in the proportion of people who stopped taking statins. This research highlights the potential for widely covered health stories in the lay media to impact on healthcare related behaviour.

BMJ 2016;353:i3283

Body-Mass Index in 2.3 Million Adolescents and Cardiovascular Death in Adulthood


In light of the worldwide increase in childhood obesity, we examined the association between body-mass index (BMI) in late adolescence and death from cardiovascular causes in adulthood.


We grouped data on BMI, as measured from 1967 through 2010 in 2.3 million Israeli adolescents (mean age, 17.3±0.4 years), according to age- and sex-specific percentiles from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Primary outcomes were the number of deaths attributed to coronary heart disease, stroke, sudden death from an unknown cause, or a combination of all three categories (total cardiovascular causes) by mid-2011. Cox proportional-hazards models were used.


During 42,297,007 person-years of follow-up, 2918 of 32,127 deaths (9.1%) were from cardiovascular causes, including 1497 from coronary heart disease, 528 from stroke, and 893 from sudden death. On multivariable analysis, there was a graded increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular causes and all causes that started among participants in the group that was in the 50th to 74th percentiles of BMI (i.e., within the accepted normal range). Hazard ratios in the obese group (≥95th percentile for BMI), as compared with the reference group in the 5th to 24th percentiles, were 4.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9 to 6.1) for death from coronary heart disease, 2.6 (95% CI, 1.7 to 4.1) for death from stroke, 2.1 (95% CI, 1.5 to 2.9) for sudden death, and 3.5 (95% CI, 2.9 to 4.1) for death from total cardiovascular causes, after adjustment for sex, age, birth year, sociodemographic characteristics, and height. Hazard ratios for death from cardiovascular causes in the same percentile groups increased from 2.0 (95% CI, 1.1 to 3.9) during follow-up for 0 to 10 years to 4.1 (95% CI, 3.1 to 5.4) during follow-up for 30 to 40 years; during both periods, hazard ratios were consistently high for death from coronary heart disease. Findings persisted in extensive sensitivity analyses.


A BMI in the 50th to 74th percentiles, within the accepted normal range, during adolescence was associated with increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality during 40 years of follow-up. Overweight and obesity were strongly associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in adulthood. (Funded by the Environment and Health Fund.)

N Engl J Med 2016; 374:2430-2440

Effect of a Primary Care Management Intervention on Mental Health–Related Quality of Life Among Survivors of Sepsis A Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance  Survivors of sepsis face long-term sequelae that diminish health-related quality of life and result in increased care needs in the primary care setting, such as medication, physiotherapy, or mental health care.

Objective  To examine if a primary care–based intervention improves mental health–related quality of life.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized clinical trial conducted between February 2011 and December 2014, enrolling 291 patients 18 years or older who survived sepsis (including septic shock), recruited from 9 intensive care units (ICUs) across Germany.

Interventions  Participants were randomized to usual care (n = 143) or to a 12-month intervention (n = 148). Usual care was provided by their primary care physician (PCP) and included periodic contacts, referrals to specialists, and prescription of medication, other treatment, or both. The intervention additionally included PCP and patient training, case management provided by trained nurses, and clinical decision support for PCPs by consulting physicians.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was change in mental health–related quality of life between ICU discharge and 6 months after ICU discharge using the Mental Component Summary (MCS) of the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36 [range, 0-100; higher ratings indicate lower impairment; minimal clinically important difference, 5 score points]).

Results  The mean age of the 291 patients was 61.6 years (SD, 14.4); 66.2% (n = 192) were men, and 84.4% (n = 244) required mechanical ventilation during their ICU stay (median duration of ventilation, 12 days [range, 0-134]). At 6 and 12 months after ICU discharge, 75.3% (n = 219 [112 intervention, 107 control]) and 69.4% (n = 202 [107 intervention, 95 control]), respectively, completed follow-up. Overall mortality was 13.7% at 6 months (40 deaths [21 intervention, 19 control]) and 18.2% at 12 months (53 deaths [27 intervention, 26 control]). Among patients in the intervention group, 104 (70.3%) received the intervention at high levels of integrity. There was no significant difference in change of mean MCS scores (intervention group mean at baseline, 49.1; at 6 months, 52.9; change, 3.79 score points [95% CI, 1.05 to 6.54] vs control group mean at baseline, 49.3; at 6 months, 51.0; change, 1.64 score points [95% CI, −1.22 to 4.51]; mean treatment effect, 2.15 [95% CI, −1.79 to 6.09]; P = .28).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among survivors of sepsis and septic shock, the use of a primary care–focused team-based intervention, compared with usual care, did not improve mental health–related quality of life 6 months after ICU discharge. Further research is needed to determine if modified approaches to primary care management may be more effective.

Trial Registration  isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN61744782

JAMA. 2016;315(24):2703-2711.

Effect of Escitalopram on All-Cause Mortality and Hospitalization in Patients With Heart Failure and Depression The MOOD-HF Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance  Depression is frequent in patients with heart failure and is associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Long-term efficacy and safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in these patients are unknown.

Objective  To determine whether 24 months of treatment with escitalopram improves mortality, morbidity, and mood in patients with chronic systolic heart failure and depression.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Effects of Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibition on Morbidity, Mortality, and Mood in Depressed Heart Failure Patients (MOOD-HF) study was a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial conducted at 16 tertiary medical centers in Germany. Between March 2009 and February 2014, patients at outpatient clinics with New York Heart Association class II-IV heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (<45%) were screened for depression using the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire. Patients with suspected depression were then invited to undergo a Structured Clinical Interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) to establish the diagnosis.

Interventions  Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive escitalopram (10-20 mg) or matching placebo in addition to optimal heart failure therapy. Study duration was 24 months.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The composite primary outcome was time to all-cause death or hospitalization. Prespecified secondary outcomes included safety and depression severity at 12 weeks of treatment (including the titration period), which were determined using the 10-item Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (total possible score, 0 to 60; higher scores indicate more severe depression).

Results  A total of 372 patients (mean age, 62 years; 24% female) were randomized and had taken at least 1 dose of study medication when the data and safety monitoring committee recommended the trial be stopped early. During a median participation time of 18.4 months (n = 185) for the escitalopram group and 18.7 months (n = 187) for the placebo group, the primary outcome of death or hospitalization occurred in 116 (63%) patients and 119 (64%) patients, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.76 to 1.27]; P = .92). The mean Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale sum score changed from 20.2 at baseline to 11.2 at 12 weeks in the escitalopram group and from 21.4 to 12.5 in the placebo group (between-group difference, −0.9 [95% CI,−2.6 to 0.7]; P = .26). Safety parameters were comparable between groups.

Conclusions and Relevance  In patients with chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and depression, 18 months of treatment with escitalopram compared with placebo did not significantly reduce all-cause mortality or hospitalization, and there was no significant improvement in depression. These findings do not support the use of escitalopram in patients with chronic systolic heart failure and depression.

Trial Registration  isrctn.com Identifier: ISRCTN33128015

JAMA. 2016;315(24):2683-2693.

Intensive vs Standard Blood Pressure Control and Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes in Adults Aged ≥75 Years A Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance  The appropriate treatment target for systolic blood pressure (SBP) in older patients with hypertension remains uncertain.

Objective  To evaluate the effects of intensive (<120 mm Hg) compared with standard (<140 mm Hg) SBP targets in persons aged 75 years or older with hypertension but without diabetes.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A multicenter, randomized clinical trial of patients aged 75 years or older who participated in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). Recruitment began on October 20, 2010, and follow-up ended on August 20, 2015.

Interventions  Participants were randomized to an SBP target of less than 120 mm Hg (intensive treatment group, n = 1317) or an SBP target of less than 140 mm Hg (standard treatment group, n = 1319).

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary cardiovascular disease outcome was a composite of nonfatal myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome not resulting in a myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, nonfatal acute decompensated heart failure, and death from cardiovascular causes. All-cause mortality was a secondary outcome.

Results  Among 2636 participants (mean age, 79.9 years; 37.9% women), 2510 (95.2%) provided complete follow-up data. At a median follow-up of 3.14 years, there was a significantly lower rate of the primary composite outcome (102 events in the intensive treatment group vs 148 events in the standard treatment group; hazard ratio [HR], 0.66 [95% CI, 0.51-0.85]) and all-cause mortality (73 deaths vs 107 deaths, respectively; HR, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.49-0.91]). The overall rate of serious adverse events was not different between treatment groups (48.4% in the intensive treatment group vs 48.3% in the standard treatment group; HR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.89-1.11]). Absolute rates of hypotension were 2.4% in the intensive treatment group vs 1.4% in the standard treatment group (HR, 1.71 [95% CI, 0.97-3.09]), 3.0% vs 2.4%, respectively, for syncope (HR, 1.23 [95% CI, 0.76-2.00]), 4.0% vs 2.7% for electrolyte abnormalities (HR, 1.51 [95% CI, 0.99-2.33]), 5.5% vs 4.0% for acute kidney injury (HR, 1.41 [95% CI, 0.98-2.04]), and 4.9% vs 5.5% for injurious falls (HR, 0.91 [95% CI, 0.65-1.29]).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among ambulatory adults aged 75 years or older, treating to an SBP target of less than 120 mm Hg compared with an SBP target of less than 140 mm Hg resulted in significantly lower rates of fatal and nonfatal major cardiovascular events and death from any cause.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01206062

JAMA. 2016;315(24):2673-2682.