NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Treatments have not always been great for adults suffering from eczema.
However, as CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports, a new drug may revolutionize the treatment for the very serious skin disease.
As many as 5 percent of adults suffer from eczema and about a third of those are serious enough to need steroids and immune suppression, often with severe side effects.
Now there’s a new drug that looks like it manages even severe eczema without those side effects.
Lisa Tannebaum, a concert harpist who has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, has terrible eczema that’s been tormenting her day and night.
“The itching was a very deep level itch. It’s something that’s hard to explain,” Tannebaum said. “Every single night you’re itching. You have staph infections and viruses on the skin because you do not have a barrier and it affects every aspect of your life.”
Tannebaum had to stop performing when her eczema spread over most of her body, and even the most powerful treatments did not help.
“Cyclosporine, which is an immune suppressant for the entire body, and I’d been on interferon, which is a chemotherapy drug,” she said about the treatments she went through.
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that an experimental drug called Dupilumab may be the answer to severe, treatment-resistant eczema.
Eczema is an inflammatory disease where the body mistakenly attacks its own skin. Present treatments suppress the immune system across the board, which can leave a patient unable to fight infections.
“Dupilumab does it in a very specific fashion. It targets only the immune parts that is central to the disease and that’s why it lacks the side effects but yet, provides efficacy in the disease,” said Dr. Emma Guttman-Yassky of the Icahn School of Medicine.
The every-other-week injections have cleared up Tannebaum’s eczema where nothing else could. She’s even going back to performing.
“It’s a miracle for me – a miracle. It’s given my life back and I’m so grateful,” Tannebaum said.
The new drug is before the FDA and approval is expected by early spring.
It is an infection and cost has not yet been determined, but will hopefully be covered by insurance.
There seems to be few of the serious side effects seen with other major eczema drugs.