Efalizumab for severe refractory atopic eczema: retrospective study on 11 cases


  • Following acceptance but prior to the print publication of this article in JEADV, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) recommended the suspension of the marketing authorization for efalizumab. After the occurrence of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients taking the medicine, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the EMEA concluded that, due to safety concerns, the benefits of efalizumab no longer outweigh its risks. This does however not preclude conclusions to be drawn regarding the role of the specific immunological mechanisms affected in the context of atopic eczema.

  • Conflict of interest
    None declared.

Kristina Ibler. E-mail:kristinaibler@hotmail.com


Background  Efalizumab is a recombinant humanized murine monoclonal antibody against CD11a, approved for the treatment of plaque psoriasis. However, recent reports suggest that it also may be effective in the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objective  To evaluate the clinical effect of efalizumab in AD.

Methods  A systematic retrospective study of the medical files of patients treated with efalizumab for AD in Danish dermatology departments. Positive outcome was defined as improvement of the disease registered in the patient's file over a period exceeding 6 months.

Results  Two of eleven patients had a positive outcome. Nine patients stopped treatment due to progression of AD or lack of effect.

Limitations  Retrospective study.

Conclusions  Only a minority of patients with severe AD responded to efalizumab treatment in a standard dose.