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Dupixent (dupilumab)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Dupixent® (dupilumab) is a maintenance drug used in combination with other medicines to treat moderate-to-severe asthma. It is prescribed for adults and children 6 and older whose asthma is not controlled with other asthma drugs.1

Dupixent may help reduce the use of oral corticosteroids needed to control asthma. It is not to be used as a rescue inhaler to treat sudden breathing problems.1

Dupixent is also approved to treat:1

  • Eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE) in adults and children 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds. Eosinophils are inflammatory cells that can contribute to the development of asthma.
  • Moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults and children 6 months and older.
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis (CRSwNP) in adults.

How does Dupixent work?

Dupixent is a biologic drug designed for the treatment of allergic diseases. Biologics are drugs made from living cells. These cells can come from parts of the blood, proteins, viruses, or tissue. The process of making biologics turns products made from cells into drugs that can prevent, treat, and cure disease. These are different from most traditional drugs. Traditional drugs are made from chemicals in a lab. Their ingredients are not directly derived from living cells.1

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Dupixent works by blocking 2 key proteins that contribute to the inflammation that may cause moderate-to-severe asthma. This may reduce severe flare-ups and oral corticosteroid use.1

What are the ingredients in Dupixent?

The active ingredient in Dupixent is dupilumab.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Dupixent include:1

  • Injection site reactions
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Eye and eyelid redness, swelling, and itching
  • Sore throat
  • Cold sores in the mouth or on the lips
  • High counts of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell)
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Toothache
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis)
  • Parasitic (helminth) infections

Dupixent may also cause serious side effects, including:1

  • Allergic reactions, including breathing problems; swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat; hives; itching; fainting or dizziness
  • Eye problems, including blurred vision
  • Inflammation of blood vessels, including rash, fever, chest pain, and numbness in the arms or legs
  • Joint aches and pains

Stop taking Dupixent and contact your doctor right away if you have any signs or symptoms of serious side effects.1

These are not all the possible side effects of Dupixent. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Dupixent. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Dupixent.

Other things to know

Dupixent should not be used to relieve sudden breathing problems as a rescue inhaler. It should also not be used in those who have allergies to dupilumab or any ingredients in Dupixent.1

Dupixent is given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) into different injection sites. You must be shown the right way by your doctor before injecting Dupixent.1,2

People who are prescribed Dupixent are eligible to participate in the MyWay program. This educational resource offers support from trained nurse educators and offers access to tools and information including injection training, prescription refills, and 24-hour nursing support.2

Before starting treatment with Dupixent, it is important to tell your doctor if you:1,2

  • Have eye problems
  • Have a parasitic infections
  • Have eczema, EOE, or CRSwNP and also have asthma
  • Are taking oral, topical, or inhaled corticosteroid medicines
  • Are scheduled to receive any vaccines

There is not enough data to know if Dupixent is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before taking Dupixent, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.1

Before beginning treatment for asthma, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Dupixent.