Comparative Efficacy of Anti IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 Drugs for Treatment of Eosinophilic Asthma: A Network Meta-analysis

Lung. 2018 Oct;196(5):517-530. doi: 10.1007/s00408-018-0151-5. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Background: Several new biologics have been studied in patients with eosinophilic asthma with varying degrees of response on clinical outcomes. No head-to-head trial has directly compared the efficacy of these drugs.

Objective: To synthesize data on the relative efficacy of benralizumab, dupilumab, lebrikizumab, mepolizumab, reslizumab, and tralokinumab using network meta-analysis.

Data sources: We searched PubMed from inception to December 15th, 2017.

Data extraction and synthesis: We used the 'frequentist' methodology with random effect models using primarily 'netmeta' function in R to generate network meta-analysis results. Outcomes assessed included changes in forced expiratory volume-in 1 s (FEV1), asthma control questionnaire (ACQ), and asthma quality of life questionnaire (AQLQ). We also separately analyzed the annualized rate ratios for asthma exacerbations for each drug and compared to placebo. For all outcomes assessed, all drugs were superior to placebo except tralokinumab. In terms of magnitude of effect, dupilumab, followed by reslizumab and benralizumab showed the greatest increase in FEV1, 0.16L (95% CIs: 0.08-0.24), 0.13L (0.10-0.17), and 0.12L (0.08-0.17), compared to placebo. While mepolizumab, followed by dupliumab, benralizumab, and reslizumab showed reductions in ACQ scores, in order of magnitude of effect, dupilumab, followed by mepolizumab, benralizumab, and reslizumab showed the greatest increase in AQLQ scores. All drugs decreased asthma exacerbations but the results were only significant for reslizumab and dupilumab.

Conclusions: All drugs except for tralokinumab showed improvements in FEV1, ACQ, and AQLQ. Only reslizumab and dupilumab were associated with statistically significant reductions in asthma exacerbation rates.

Keywords: Benralizumab; Dupilumab; Eosinophilic asthma; Mepolizumab; Reslizumab.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Eosinophilia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-13 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-4 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-5 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-5
  • Interleukin-4
  • reslizumab
  • dupilumab
  • benralizumab
  • mepolizumab
  • tralokinumab
  • lebrikizumab