Medically Reviewed by:

Generic Name: Dupilumab

Brands: Dupixent

Class: Monoclonal antibodies

Availability: Prescription needed

Molecular Formula: C6512H10066N1730O2052S46

Substance UNII: 420K487FSG

What is Dupixent?

Dupixent is in the drug class known as monoclonal antibodies, which are made by white blood cells (aka leukocytes, leucocytes) that are clones of a single, unique parent cell.  It is the brand name for the generic drug dupilumab.

What is Dupixent Used For?

Dupixent treats eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. It is for cases in which topical medications–which are those medications used on the skin–do not effectively control the patient’s eczema.

Doctors also sometimes prescribe Dupixent as an add-on treatment to other medications to help control or prevent symptoms of moderate to severe asthma, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

How Does Dupixent Work?

Dupixent works by blocking an overactive immune response.

Special receptors cover the exterior surface of body cells. Proteins bind to these receptors to change the way the cell works. So, some medicines work by binding to these receptors to change the function of the cell. Other medications, including Dupixent, work by preventing a protein from binding to the receptor so that the cell does not change function.

Specifically, Dupixent works to treat eczema by preventing a specific type of protein–known as interleukin or IL–from binding to cell receptors. Interleukins normally help the immune system fight off viruses and bacteria in the body. An overactive immune system, however, can cause interleukins to attack the body instead. This attack can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.

There are 40 interleukins (IL-1 through IL-40), and each performs a function. Dupixent works on two interleukins that scientists think contribute to atopic diseases: IL-4 and IL-13. These interleukins likely bind to the receptors to overstimulate the immune system and cause the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Dupixent curbs the immune system overreaction by blocking the IL-4 and IL-13 interleukins from binding to receptors. In other words, Dupixent calms the immune system in a way that leads to fewer and/or less severe symptoms of eczema.

How Long Does it Take for Dupixent to Work?

Dupixent is an ongoing treatment rather than a short-term one. Doctors typically review patients after 16 weeks to determine how effectively treatment with Dupixent is working. If the medication has not helped reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, the prescribing doctor may stop the treatment.

Do Not Use Dupixent If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for a particular patient. According to the FDA, the following should not use Dupixent:

  • Those who are hypersensitive to Dupixent
  • Those who are hypersensitive to any ingredient in Dupixent

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where Dupixent use is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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