Emerging Agents for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis


Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD; Jeffrey M. Bienstock, MD, FAAP; Peter A. Lio, MD; and Elizabeth A. Swanson, MD, review additional mechanisms being investigated in the pipeline for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD: Let’s shift to the other stuff coming in the future. There are other mechanisms being investigated in therapeutics in atopic dermatitis. I’ll start with topicals.

There’s a new topical JAK inhibitor that has been studied in ages 12 and older. It’s probably as strong or a little stronger than triamcinolone 0.1% as a steroid, but it’s a nonsteroid. There’s no atrophy. It may have more potency than our other nonsteroidals without a lot of irritancy, burning, or stinging at all. We’re really excited about that.

Tapinarof is a drug in a totally different class of medicines. It’s an aryl hydrocarbon receptor modulator. This is being developed both for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. 

Another PDE4 inhibitor is under study as well. Another topical JAK inhibitor, delgocitinib, is being studied in both chronic hand eczema and atopic dermatitis. They’re not ready to be written yet, but these are other medicines that will give us different topical options.

Peter, do you want to talk about biologics?

Peter A. Lio, MD: Absolutely. We have some new biologic agents that are in development. In particular, we have 2 new IL-13 inhibitors that are in late-stage development, so that’s going to be exciting. It seems they’ll be similar to dupilumab but a different molecule. It may be for patients who have had an adverse event with dupilumab or if it didn’t work fully. This may be another option. This is going to be nice. It seems like they’re going to have a similar safety profile and lack of lab monitoring. That’s exciting.

We have an IL-31 inhibitor that’s also in development. That’s interesting because some people call IL-31 the master itch cytokine. That would be neat because that could answer our question we asked at the beginning. Is this the itch that rashes? If so, how much? Of course, nothing is quite that pure. IL-31 is doing other things too, but the early data seem very promising, so that’s exciting to me as well.

Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD: There are some oral JAK inhibitors coming down the pike as well. They are well along the way. Baricitinib and upadacitinib have been approved for other indications and are being studied in phase 3 trials for atopic dermatitis. There’s also a new molecule, abrocitinib. These will be different. They’ll be oral. There are some more issues with monitoring blood work, but that will give another potential approach to some of our patients. Two of the 3 JAKs have been studied in ages 12 and older, and the other is being studied in adults but going younger. There’s lots of new stuff happening. 

This has been an incredible discussion and very practical, reflecting on all the changes that are happening in the field. Let’s get final thoughts from each of our participants. Jeffrey? 

Jeffrey M. Bienstock, MD, FAAP: I’ll go back to education. Educate the pediatrician and make sure the pediatrician educates the family and takes the time. This is not an easy process. This is not an easy disease state. If we do a good job outlining to the families what they need to do, we can see much better outcomes. That goes without saying for everything that primary care doctors do. This forum is going to be great for people to take a look and hear what’s coming on and where we should be.

Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD: Great. Peter?

Peter A. Lio, MD: We all have to work together in a therapeutic alliance. We need to get the patients on board. We need all of the specialists and primary care practitioners to work together because we’re all together for the same concept. We want the patient and their family to be better. When we bring all our forces together, it’s so much more powerful. There’s great synergy.

Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD: Lisa?

Elizabeth A. Swanson, MD: These are exciting times in the world of atopic dermatitis. The world is going to be a better place with all these new therapies on the way and with the advent of Dupixent 4 years ago. It’s a good time to have atopic dermatitis. We can do many more things to help.

Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD: Thank you. Great contributions from everyone today. Thank you for watching this HCPLive® Peer Exchange. If you enjoyed the content, please subscribe to our e-newsletters to receive upcoming Peer Exchanges and other great content right in your in-box. Thank you.

Transcript Edited for Clarity

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