Efficacy and safety of switching from dupilumab to upadacitinib versus continuous upadacitinib in moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis: Results from an open-label extension of the phase 3, randomized, controlled trial (Heads Up)

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2023 Sep;89(3):478-485. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2023.05.033. Epub 2023 May 23.


Background: Characterization of upadacitinib use and switching from dupilumab to upadacitinib among patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) is needed.

Objective: To evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of continuous upadacitinib 30 mg and switching to upadacitinib after 24 weeks of dupilumab.

Methods: Adults who completed the phase 3b clinical trial of oral upadacitinib 30 mg vs injectable dupilumab 300 mg (Heads Up) and entered a 52-week open-label extension (OLE) (NCT04195698) were included. All patients received 30-mg upadacitinib during the open-label period. We report results of a prespecified interim OLE 16-week analysis.

Results: Patients (n = 239) continuing upadacitinib maintained high levels of skin and itch response. Patients (n = 245) switching from dupilumab experienced additional incremental improvements in clinical responses within 4 weeks of starting upadacitinib. Most patients who did not achieve adequate clinical responses with dupilumab did so with upadacitinib. The safety profile of upadacitinib up to 40 weeks (week 16 of OLE) was consistent with previous phase 3 AD studies, with no new safety risks observed.

Limitations: Open-label study design.

Conclusions: Clinical responses are maintained with continuous upadacitinib through 40 weeks and patients regardless of prior dupilumab response experienced improved outcomes when switched to upadacitinib. No new safety risks were observed.

Keywords: atopic dermatitis; dupilumab; safety; treatment outcome; upadacitinib.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • dupilumab
  • upadacitinib