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Disease burden in patients with asthma before initiating biologics: A retrospective cohort database study

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Real-world data on the characteristics and burden of disease among patients with asthma before receiving asthma-specific biologics would improve the understanding of the use of these therapies in a clinical setting. Currently, limited data are available on the use of mepolizumab and omalizumab for the treatment of asthma.


To determine the characteristics and disease burden among patients with asthma before initiating treatment with mepolizumab or omalizumab.


This was a retrospective cohort analysis of commercial and Medicare Advantage Plan members from a medical claims database with a new claim for mepolizumab or omalizumab between January 1, 2015, and March 31, 2017 (GSK ID: HO-17‐18283). Eligible patients had a diagnosis of asthma and continuous enrollment in the health plan, with clinical and pharmacy benefits for 12 months before initiating asthma-specific biologic treatment (baseline period), and no diagnosis of chronic idiopathic urticaria during the baseline period. Patient characteristics, exacerbations, and asthma-related health care resource utilization and costs were assessed during the baseline period.


Overall, 188 and 901 patients prescribed mepolizumab and omalizumab, respectively, were included. In the 12 months before initiating asthma-specific biologic therapy, the patients prescribed mepolizumab were older, had higher blood eosinophil counts, more-frequent exacerbations (2.9 versus 2.0 exacerbations/year; p < 0.001), and more inhaled corticosteroid and systemic corticosteroid use compared with those prescribed omalizumab. Overall, asthma-related health-care resource utilization and costs were similar across both treatment cohorts, although patients prescribed mepolizumab had more pharmacy fills, higher pharmacy costs, and lower clinic costs compared with patients prescribed omalizumab (20.8 versus 16.9 fills, $4504 versus $3102, and $1816 versus $2709, respectively; all p < 0.001).


In the 12 months before initiating asthma-specific biologic therapy, the patients prescribed mepolizumab may have a greater disease burden than those prescribed omalizumab. Overall, health-care resource utilization and costs were broadly similar across both treatment cohorts.

Keywords: Asthma; asthma-related costs; disease burden; exacerbation; health care resource utilization; mepolizumab; monoclonal antibody; omalizumab; real-world study

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From Respiratory, U.S. Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), La Jolla, California 2: Respiratory, U.S. Medical Affairs, GSK Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 3: Optum, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Publication date: May 1, 2019

This article was made available online on March 29, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Disease burden in patients with asthma before initiating biologics: A retrospective cohort database study ".

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

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    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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