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Original Investigation
November 25, 2019

Treatment Effect of Omalizumab on Severe Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis: The ADAPT Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1Children’s Allergy, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
  • 2King’s College London, School of Life Course Sciences & School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences, King’s Health Partners, London, United Kingdom
  • 3Imperial Clinical Trials Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 4UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(1):29-37. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.4476
Key Points

Question  Is omalizumab (anti-IgE medication) effective in the treatment of severe pediatric atopic dermatitis?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial of 62 children with severe atopic dermatitis, significant reduction in eczema severity was observed in the omalizumab group, compared with placebo after adjustment for baseline objective Scoring Atopic Dermatitis index, age, and IgE level. This improvement occurred in the context of markedly potent topical corticosteroid sparing in the omalizumab group.

Meaning  This trial presents evidence that anti-IgE therapy may have a role in managing severe pediatric atopic dermatitis.


Importance  Systemic treatments for severe childhood atopic dermatitis have limited evidence and/or are unlicensed. Despite the efficacy of anti-IgE medication (omalizumab) in the treatment of atopy, no large randomized studies in childhood atopic dermatitis have been published.

Objective  To determine the effectiveness of omalizumab in treating severe atopic dermatitis in children.

Design, Setting, and Participants  The Atopic Dermatitis Anti-IgE Pediatric Trial (ADAPT) was a 24-week single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial with a 24-week follow-up. Conducted from November 20, 2014, to August 31, 2017, at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London in the United Kingdom, this trial recruited participants after a screening visit. Eligible participants (n = 62) were aged 4 to 19 years and had severe eczema (with objective Scoring Atopic Dermatitis [SCORAD] index >40) that was unresponsive to optimum therapy. Statistical analysis was conducted using the intention-to-treat principle.

Interventions  Subcutaneous omalizumab or placebo for 24 weeks. The drug manufacturer’s dosing tables were used to determine the dosage based on total IgE (30-1500 IU/mL) and body weight (in kilograms) at randomization.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Objective SCORAD index after 24 weeks of treatment.

Results  In total, 62 children (mean [SD] age, 10.3 [4.2] years; 32 (52%) were male) were randomized to either omalizumab (n = 30) or placebo (n = 32). Five participants withdrew from treatment (4 [13%] from the placebo group, and 1 [3%] from the omalizumab group). Follow-up attendance was 97% at week 24 and 98% at week 48. After adjustment for baseline objective SCORAD index, age, and IgE level, the mean difference in objective SCORAD index improvement between groups at week 24 was −6.9 (95% CI, −12.2 to −1.5; P = .01), significantly favoring omalizumab therapy and reflecting the results in other assessments of atopic dermatitis severity. Improved quality-of-life scores were seen in the omalizumab group, as measured by the Children's Dermatology Life Quality Index/Dermatology Life Quality Index (−3.5; 95% CI, −6.4 to −0.5) and Pediatric Allergic Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire score (−0.5; 95% CI, −0.9 to −0.0). Improvements in disease severity occurred despite lower potent topical corticosteroid use in the omalizumab group compared with the placebo group (median [interquartile range (IQR)] percentage of body surface area covered, 16% [10%-46%] vs 31% [14%-55%]; median [IQR] number of days of use, 109 [34-164] days vs 161 [82-171] days).

Conclusions and Relevance  This randomized clinical trial found that omalizumab significantly reduced atopic dermatitis severity and improved quality of life in a pediatric population with atopy and severe eczema despite highly elevated total IgE levels at baseline. The result was associated with a potent topical corticosteroid sparing effect and may suggest that omalizumab is a treatment option for difficult-to-manage severe eczema in children with atopy.

Trial Registration  ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02300701

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