Mepolizumab effectiveness on small airway obstruction, corticosteroid sparing and maintenance therapy step-down in real life

Bruno Sposato, Gianna Camiciottoli, Elena Bacci, Marco Scalese, Giovanna Elisiana Carpagnano, Corrado Pelaia, Pierachille Santus, Mauro Maniscalco, Simonetta Masieri, Angelo Corsico, Nicola Scichilone, Stefano Baglioni, Nicola Murgia, Ilenia Folletti, Giulio Bardi, Amelia Grosso, Paolo Cameli, Manuela Latorre, Antonino Musarra, Elena BargagliAlberto Ricci, Girolamo Pelaia, Pierluigi Paggiaro, Paola Rogliani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mepolizumab (MEP) has been recently introduced to treat severe eosinophilic asthma. Trials have demonstrated a significant effectiveness in this asthma phenotype. We evaluated MEP efficacy on lung function, symptoms, asthma exacerbations, biologic markers, steroid dependence and controller treatment level in real-life. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 134 severe asthmatics (61 males; mean age 58.3 ± 11; mean FEV1%:72 ± 21), treated with MEP for at least 6 months (mean duration:10.9 ± 3.7 months). Results: FEV1% improved significantly after MEP. Mean FEF25-75 also increased from 37.4 ± 25.4% to 47.2 ± 27.2% (p < 0.0001). Mean baseline blood eosinophil level was 712 ± 731/μL (8.4 ± 5.2%) decreasing to 151 ± 384/μL (1.6 ± 1.6%) (p < 0.0001), FENO levels decreased likewise. MEP treatment also led to a significant ACT improvement (mean pre:14.2 ± 4.4; mean post:20.5 ± 28) and exacerbations significantly fell from 3.8 ± 1.9 to 0.8 ± 1.1 (p < 0.0001). 74% of patients were steroid-dependent before MEP. 45.4% and 46.4% of them showed a suspension and dose reduction respectively (p < 0.0001). A significant number reduced also ICS doses. Only 67% of subjects used SABA as needed before MEP, falling to 20% after MEP. About 40% of patients highlighted a maintenance therapy step-down. Subjects showing an omalizumab treatment failure before MEP had a similar positive response when compared with omalizumab untreated patients. Conclusion: In real-life, MEP improved significantly all outcomes even small airway obstruction, suggesting its possible role also in distal lung region treatment. Furthermore, it demonstrated its high effectiveness in OC/ICS-sparing, in reducing SABA as needed and in stepping-down maintenance therapy. MEP is a valid alternative for patients with previous omalizumab treatment failure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101899
JournalPulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Effectiveness
  • FEF
  • Mepolizumab
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Real-life
  • Severe asthma
  • Small airways
  • Step-down

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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