Efficacy and Safety of Abrocitinib in Patients with Severe and/or Difficult-to-Treat Atopic Dermatitis: A Post Hoc Analysis of the Randomized Phase 3 JADE COMPARE Trial

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2023 Jul;24(4):609-621. doi: 10.1007/s40257-023-00785-5. Epub 2023 May 22.


Background: Traditional systemic immunosuppressants and advanced therapies improve signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD). However, data are limited in severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD. In the phase 3 JADE COMPARE trial of patients with moderate-to-severe AD receiving background topical therapy, once-daily abrocitinib 200 mg and 100 mg showed significantly greater reductions in the symptoms of AD than placebo and significantly greater improvement in itch response (with abrocitinib 200 mg) than dupilumab at week 2.

Objective: This study assessed the efficacy and safety of abrocitinib and dupilumab in a subset of patients with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD in a post hoc analysis of the JADE COMPARE trial.

Methods: Adults with moderate-to-severe AD received once-daily oral abrocitinib 200 mg or 100 mg, dupilumab 300 mg subcutaneous injection every 2 weeks, or placebo with concomitant medicated topical therapy. Severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD subgroups were classified by baseline characteristics [Investigator's Global Assessment (IGA) 4, Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI) > 21, failure or intolerance to prior systemic agents (excluding patients who took only corticosteroids), percentage of body surface area (%BSA) > 50, upper quartiles of EASI (EASI > 38) and %BSA (%BSA > 65), and combined subgroup of IGA 4, EASI > 21, and %BSA > 50, and failure or intolerance to prior systemic agents (excluding patients who took only corticosteroids)]. Assessments included IGA score of 0 (clear) or 1 (almost clear) and a ≥ 2-point improvement from baseline, ≥ 75% and ≥ 90% improvement from baseline in EASI (EASI-75 and EASI-90), ≥ 4-point improvement from baseline in Peak Pruritus-Numerical Rating Scale (PP-NRS4), time to PP-NRS4, least squares mean (LSM) change from baseline in 14-day PP-NRS (days 2-15), Patient-Oriented Eczema Measure (POEM), and Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) up to week 16.

Results: The proportion of patients achieving IGA 0/1, EASI-75, and EASI-90 responses was significantly greater with abrocitinib 200 mg than placebo (nominal p < 0.05) across all subgroups with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD. Across most subgroups, PP-NRS4 response was significantly greater with abrocitinib 200 mg than placebo (nominal p < 0.01); the time to achieve this response was shorter with abrocitinib 200 mg (range 4.5-6.0 days) than abrocitinib 100 mg (range 5.0-17.0 days), dupilumab (range 8.0-11.0 days), and placebo (range 3.0-11.5 days). LSM change from baseline in POEM and DLQI was significantly greater with abrocitinib 200 mg than placebo (nominal p < 0.001) across all subgroups. Clinically meaningful differences were observed between abrocitinib and dupilumab for most evaluated endpoints across several subgroups, including in patients who failed or were intolerant to prior systemic therapy.

Conclusions: Abrocitinib provided rapid and substantially greater improvements in skin clearance and quality of life compared with placebo and dupilumab in subgroups of patients with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD. These findings support the use of abrocitinib for severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03720470.

Plain language summary

Atopic dermatitis (AD), also known as atopic eczema, is a skin disease that causes itchy and red skin patches. People can be diagnosed with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD if their signs and symptoms of AD are extremely severe and their AD cannot be adequately treated by common medicines. Abrocitinib is a treatment that has been shown in clinical trials to improve the symptoms of AD. We analyzed data from the JADE COMPARE study, which included 837 people who were treated with abrocitinib, dupilumab (another treatment for AD), or placebo. Many of these people had severe symptoms when they entered the study. Some had AD signs and symptoms that did not improve after they took common medicines for AD. We studied how well abrocitinib worked in these people with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD. We found that these people achieved clear skin and itch relief at week 16 after treatment with abrocitinib 200 mg compared with placebo (no drug control). Additionally, they achieved significant relief from itch faster with abrocitinib 200 mg compared with abrocitinib 100 mg, dupilumab, or placebo. People reported less severe AD and better quality of life after treatment with abrocitinib compared with placebo. Together, the findings of our study provide important evidence for healthcare providers as they determine a treatment plan for people with severe and/or difficult-to-treat AD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eczema*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Pruritus / chemically induced
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • abrocitinib
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunoglobulin A

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03720470