Smaller Differences in the Comparative Effectiveness of Biologics in Reducing Asthma-Related Hospitalizations Compared With Overall Exacerbations

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2024 Jun;12(6):1568-1574.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2024.02.034. Epub 2024 Feb 29.


Background: Evidence on the comparative effectiveness of respiratory biologics remains sparse.

Objective: We sought to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of omalizumab, mepolizumab, benralizumab, and dupilumab in a matched retrospective cohort of patients with asthma.

Methods: We identified patients with asthma aged ≥18 years who were incident users of these biologics between November 1, 2018, and June 30, 2023, in administrative claims data from the Food and Drug Administration's Sentinel System and Merative MarketScan Commercial Database. We compared asthma-related exacerbations and hospitalizations in the 12 months since biologic prescription in pairwise comparisons of propensity score-matched cohorts. Covariates used in matching included age, sex, allergic comorbidities, baseline asthma medications use, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using negative binomial regression models.

Results: A total of 893 patients on mepolizumab, 1300 on benralizumab, 1170 on omalizumab, and 1863 on dupilumab were identified. The average age was 55 years, and two-thirds of the participants were female. At baseline, over 80% of these individuals had an active prescription for an inhaled corticosteroid. Almost half of patients on dupilumab had concomitant nasal polyposis compared with 6% to 13% of patients on the other biologics. Covariates were balanced after matching. In matched analyses, dupilumab was associated with the lowest incidence of exacerbations over the follow-up period (vs dupilumab): mepolizumab (IRR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.64), omalizumab (IRR: 1.33; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.58), benralizumab (IRR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.41). For exacerbations leading to hospitalizations, benralizumab and mepolizumab were associated with the lowest incidence of hospitalizations, and the greatest difference was between mepolizumab versus dupilumab (IRR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.56, 1.03).

Conclusions: Dupilumab was associated with the lowest incidence of overall exacerbations, and mepolizumab with the lowest incidence of asthma hospitalizations in this administrative claims-based cohort of individuals with asthma. Despite matching propensity scores, residual confounding, such as baseline eosinophil count, may explain some of these findings.

Keywords: Asthma; Benralizumab; Dupilumab; Exacerbations omalizumab; Hospitalization; Mepolizumab; Monoclonal antibody; Outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Asthma* / drug therapy
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hospitalization* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biological Products
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • mepolizumab
  • dupilumab