(RxWiki News) Scientists don't know exactly what causes nasal polyps to grow. But they may have developed an effective treatment for these bothersome growths.
Nasal polyps are soft, noncancerous growths within the nasal passageway. Although small polyps often don't cause symptoms, larger ones can block the nasal passages and lead to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell and frequent infections.
Chronic sinusitis is the chronic inflammation of the sinus cavity. This condition can be caused by an infection, nasal polyps or a deviated septum (when the wall between the nostrils is displaced).
Some chronic sinusitis patients can successfully be treated with intranasal corticosteroids, which are sprayed into the nose to relieve nasal discomfort. For those who don't see improvement with corticosteroids alone, however, a new injection medication called dupilumab may offer relief.
Dupilumab was originally developed for the treatment of atopic diseases like asthma and atopic dermatitis.
The study on dupilumab was led by Claus Bachert, MD, PhD, of Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, and was conducted at 13 sites across the US and Europe. A total of 60 patients with chronic sinusitis and nasal polyps were included.
These patients had previously used intranasal corticosteroids to relieve their symptoms, but were not responsive to treatment.
The patients were placed into two groups. The first group was given an injection of dupilumab and asked to use a corticosteroid nasal spray for 16 weeks. The second group was given a placebo injection and asked to use the same nasal spray for 16 weeks. At the end of the 16-week study period, 51 out of the 60 patients had completed the study.
The patients given dupilumab showed significant improvements in several areas, including nasal polyp size, sense of smell and nasal obstruction. Nasal congestion was also lessened in some cases, which helped many patients sleep through the night. This led to patients reporting significant improvements in quality of life.
Dupilumab was generally well-tolerated among patients. There were also no serious adverse events linked to dupilumab. However, researchers said more research is still needed to examine the effects of long-term treatment.
If you have chronic sinusitis, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information on dupilumab.
This study was published February 2 in the journal JAMA.
Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., the makers of dupilumab, funded this research. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.