Dr Michael E. Weschler: Treating Eosinophilic Asthma vs Other Asthma Types

Michael E. Wechsler, MD, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health, details the ways that the treatment of eosinophilic asthma differs from other forms of asthma.

The treatment of eosinophilic asthma differs from other forms of asthma, explained Michael E. Wechsler, MD, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health.

Transcript

How does treating eosinophilic asthma differ from treating other forms of asthma?

So, what we've come to recognize is that people who have higher levels of eosinophils tend to have more risk of an exacerbation, lower lung function, and less likelihood of asthma control. So, historically, we treated all patients with asthma the same with inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators. When someone has eosinophilic asthma that's poorly controlled and that is associated with risk of exacerbations and loss of asthma control, we need to add on something else on top of the inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting bronchodilators. So, for those patients, there's now availability of a variety of different biologic therapies that target specific cytokines that play a role in eosinophilic inflammation. Those include therapies that target interleukin-5, or its receptor, or therapies that target interleukin [IL]-4 receptor alpha, and blocks both IL-4 and IL-13.

By targeting those specific cytokines, on top of standard of care therapies, you can have a significant impact in terms of reducing exacerbations, improving lung function, and improving other asthma outcomes. And so, what those therapies do is either prevent eosinophil activation, proliferation and maturation or prevent eosinophils trafficking from the blood into the tissue, where it can cause inflammation if activated.