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Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2016 Nov;7(6):260-277. Epub 2016 Aug 11.

Mepolizumab for severe refractory eosinophilic asthma: evidence to date and clinical potential.

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Department of Cardio-Thoracic-Vascular and Intensive Care Medicine, Pneumology Unit, IRCCS - Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, Viale Risorgimento 56, 42123 Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Unit of Respiratory Rehabilitation, AUSL Reggio Emilia, S. Sebastiano Hospital, Correggio, Italy.


Severe asthma is characterized by major impairment of quality of life, poor symptom control and frequent exacerbations. Inflammatory, clinical and causative factors identify different phenotypes and endotypes of asthma. In the last few years, new treatment options have allowed for targeted treatments according to the different phenotypes of the disease. To accurately select a specific treatment for each asthmatic variant, the identification of appropriate biomarkers is required. Eosinophilic asthma is a distinct phenotype characterized by thickening of the basement membrane and corticosteroid responsiveness. This review reports the latest evidence on an anti-IL-5 monoclonal antibody, mepolizumab, a new and promising biological agent recently approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of severe eosinophilic refractory asthma.


IL-5; asthma; costs; effectiveness; mepolizumab; phenotype

Conflict of interest statement

Francesco Menzella and Luigi Zucchi participated in contracted research and clinical trials for Novartis, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. The other authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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