Asthma Patients Who Stop Asthma Biologics Have a Similar Risk of Asthma Exacerbations as Those Who Continue Asthma Biologics

Molly M. Jeffery, Jonathan W. Inselman, Jacob T. Maddux, Regina W. Lam, Nilay D. Shah, Matthew A. Rank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is limited information about outcomes associated with stopping asthma biologics. Objective: To compare outcomes in people who stopped or continued asthma biologics. Methods: We identified a cohort of people with asthma who stopped or continued asthma biologics in the Optum Labs Database Warehouse, using a propensity matching method for case and control groups with the variables of age, sex, race, region, insurance, income, specialist access, Charlson comorbidity, specific medical conditions, pre-index exacerbation count, pre-index rescue inhaler pharmacy fills, and pre-index inhaled corticosteroid with or without long-acting β-agonist pharmacy fills. Primary outcome used to assess failure of stopping was an increase of 50% or more in the asthma exacerbation rate in the 6 months after discontinuing the biologic compared with the 6-month period before biologic initiation. Results: Among a cohort of 4960 asthma biologic users, 1249 were observed to stop use after 6 to 12 months of use. We identified a matched cohort of 1247 stoppers and 1247 people who continued biologic use for at least 18 months. In the first 6 months after stopping or sham stopping, 10.2% of stoppers and 9.5% of continuers had an increase of 50% or more in asthma exacerbations. We found a similar adjusted odds of failing among stoppers and continuers (odds ratio = 1.085; 95% confidence interval, 0.833-1.413). Conclusions: An increase in asthma exacerbations is infrequently observed in people who stopped asthma biologics and was observed at similar rates as in matched controls who continued asthma biologics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2742-2750.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Asthma
  • Biologics
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Step-down treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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