Dupixent is a brand-name injection that’s prescribed for conditions including atopic dermatitis and asthma. Dupixent contains the active drug dupilumab and belongs to the monoclonal antibodies drug class.
Dupixent is FDA-approved to treat the following conditions in certain situations:
- moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults and children ages 6 months and older
- moderate to severe asthma,* specifically eosinophilic asthma or oral corticosteroid-dependent asthma, in adults and children ages 6 years and older
- eosinophilic esophagitis in adults and certain children ages 12 years and older
- chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in adults
- prurigo nodularis in adults
* Rescue inhalers should still be used as needed to treat asthma attack symptoms, such as trouble breathing. Dupixent should never be used to treat a sudden asthma attack.
You’ll find key information about Dupixent below.
- Drug forms: solution in single-dose prefilled syringes and pens, given as subcutaneous injections
- Drug class: monoclonal antibody, specifically interleukin-4 (IL-4) receptor blocker
- Generic available? No
- Prescription required? Yes
- Controlled substance? No
- Year of FDA approval: 2017
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs, such as Dupixent, to treat certain conditions. Dupixent may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.
Dupixent for atopic dermatitis
Dupixent is FDA-approved to treat certain forms of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in adults and children ages 6 months and older. Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that can make your skin discolored, swollen, dry, and itchy.
Dupixent is prescribed for atopic dermatitis that is not responding well to topical (applied to the skin) medications (such as creams or ointments). Dupixent can also be prescribed when topical medications should not be used.
For more information about atopic dermatitis, see our dermatology hub.
Dupixent for asthma
Dupixent is approved for use in adults and children ages 6 years and older with moderate to severe asthma that is either:
- eosinophilic (caused by an increased number of a certain white blood cell)
- oral corticosteroid-dependent (requires treatment with a certain type of steroid)
For this purpose, Dupixent is prescribed as an add-on maintenance treatment. This means Dupixent is meant to be used in combination with other drugs, such as:
- corticosteroids, such as oral prednisone or inhaled budesonide (Pulmicort)
- rescue inhalers, such as albuterol or levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA)
Dupixent can help some people with asthma depend less on corticosteroid medications to treat their symptoms. Some might stop needing to use steroids for asthma altogether. However, you should not stop or reduce your steroid medication on your own. Your doctor will help determine the treatment plan that fits your needs.
Dupixent should never be used to treat an asthma attack. If you have an asthma attack, be sure to use your rescue inhaler.
Dupixent for eosinophilic esophagitis
Dupixent is approved to treat eosinophilic esophagitis in adults and children ages 12 years and older who weight at least 40 kilograms (kg), which is about 88 pounds (lb).
Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes inflammation of the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth and stomach). Symptoms of this condition vary, but they can include difficulty swallowing, heartburn, chest and stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, and appetite loss.
Dupixent for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
Dupixent is approved to treat chronic (long-term) rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in adults. It’s used when the condition is not well managed by other treatments.
With rhinosinusitis, your sinus cavities swell and cause pain or pressure in your face, along with congestion. It’s considered chronic when it lasts for 12 weeks or longer. Nasal polyps are tissue growths in the nose that are noncancerous. Dupixent works to reduce swelling in the area, which relieves symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.
For this purpose, Dupixent is prescribed as an add-on maintenance treatment in people who are already taking other medications to treat this condition. Examples of other drugs that may be used with Dupixent include:
- nasal corticosteroids, such as fluticasone (Flonase) or mometasone (Nasonex)
- oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone
Dupixent for prurigo nodularis
Dupixent is approved to treat prurigo nodularis in adults. Prurigo nodularis is a skin condition that causes skin bumps and intense itchiness. The bumps may be red or discolored, and they can range in size and number.
Dupixent and children
Dupixent is approved to treat the following conditions in children:
- moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in children ages 6 months and older
- certain kinds of moderate to severe asthma* in children ages 6 years and older
- eosinophilic esophagitis in children ages 12 years and older who weigh at least 40 kg (about 88 lb)
For more information about Dupixent’s use for these conditions, see the sections just above.
* Rescue inhalers should still be used as needed to treat asthma attack symptoms such as trouble breathing. Dupixent should never be used to treat a sudden asthma attack.
Dupixent for other conditions
You may wonder if Dupixent is used for certain other conditions in addition to those listed above. Here we discuss some conditions that Dupixent may or may not be used to treat.
Dupixent for alopecia (off-label use)
With alopecia, your immune system attacks your hair follicles, causing hair loss. Alopecia ranges from patches of hair loss to total hair loss. To learn more about Dupixent treatment for alopecia, talk with your doctor.
Dupixent for dyshidrotic eczema (off-label use)
Dupixent is not currently approved for the treatment of dyshidrotic eczema. However, Dupixent may be prescribed off-label to treat this condition if your doctor thinks it may be safe and effective for your situation. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.
Although dyshidrotic eczema is a type of eczema, it’s not the same as atopic dermatitis. This type often appears as blisters on your feet and hands. The blisters may flare up if you are stressed or have sensitive skin that’s exposed to certain allergens.
For more information about treatment options for this condition, talk with your doctor.
Biologics are made from living cells. It’s not possible to make an exact copy of these drugs. A generic, on the other hand, refers to medications made from chemicals. A generic is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.
Biosimilars are considered to be just as safe and effective as their parent drug. And like generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.
As with all medications, the cost of Dupixent can vary. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
To learn more about the cost of Dupixent treatment, you can refer to this article.
Financial and insurance assistance: If you need financial support to pay for Dupixent, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Generic or biosimilar version: Dupixent is not available in a
Dupixent can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Dupixent. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information on the possible side effects of Dupixent, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome. You can also see this article about side effects with Dupixent.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Dupixent, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Dupixent. These side effects can vary depending on the condition it’s being used to treat. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Dupixent’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Dupixent can include:
- injection site reactions
- throat pain
- flare-up of existing oral herpes causing cold sores, or flare-up of other existing herpes infections
- dry or itchy eyes
- conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- joint pain
- gastritis (inflammation in your stomach)
- eosinophilia (increase in a type of white blood cells)
- eyelid inflammation
- muscle pain
- mild allergic reaction*
* For more information about allergic reaction and Dupixent, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Dupixent aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:
- Eye problems. Symptoms can include:
- changes in vision
- eye pain or swelling
- Eosinophilic conditions, including pneumonia and vasculitis (swelling of the blood vessels). Symptoms can include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- skin lesions (irregular growths on your skin)
- Severe allergic reaction.*
* For details about allergic reaction and Dupixent, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Dupixent, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
The Dupixent dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using Dupixent to treat
- your age
- body weight, in children
- other medical conditions you may have
For treating atopic dermatitis, asthma, or prurigo nodularis in adults, the first dose of Dupixent is usually given as a loading dose. A loading dose, also called a “starting dose,” is when a higher dose of medication is given as the first dose of treatment. This helps the drug start working quickly.
After a loading dose, you take one maintenance dose every other week for atopic dermatitis or asthma. Maintenance doses help maintain a consistent level of medication in your body so it can be effective.
For treating chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps and eosinophilic esophagitis, you don’t take a loading dose. You start with the recommended dose and continue taking that dose as directed by your doctor.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
You can also see this article for details about Dupixent’s dosages.
Drug forms and strengths
Dupixent comes as a solution in single-dose prefilled syringes and pens. There are two syringes or pens in each box of Dupixent.
Dupixent comes in the following doses:
- 100 milligrams (mg)/0.67 milliliters (mL)
- 200 mg/1.14 mL
- 300 mg/2 mL
Dosage for atopic dermatitis
In adults with atopic dermatitis, the first dose of Dupixent consists of two injections of 300 mg each. This gives a total dose of 600 mg.
After the first dose, you’ll get one injection of 300 mg every other week. (See “Pediatric dosage” just below for information about the dosage for atopic dermatitis in children.)
Dosage for asthma
When Dupixent is used to treat asthma, there are two possible starting dosages for adults and children ages 12 years and older. (See “Children’s dosage” below for information about the dosage for asthma in children ages 6–11 years.)
One option is to give a first dose of two 200-mg injections. This gives a total dose of 400 mg. This dose is followed by one 200-mg injection every other week.
The other option is to give a starting dose of two 300-mg injections. This gives a total dose of 600 mg. This dose is followed by one 300-mg injection every other week.
Doctors may recommend the higher dosage of Dupixent for certain people with asthma. This includes people who either:
- are currently taking oral corticosteroids for their asthma
- have moderate to severe atopic dermatitis or chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in addition to asthma
Dosage for eosinophilic esophagitis
In adults with eosinophilic esophagitis, the typical Dupixent dosage is one 300-mg injection every week. (See “Children’s dosage” just below for information about Dupixent’s dosage for this condition in children.)
Dosage for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
To treat chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in adults, the typical Dupixent dose is one 300-mg injection every other week.
Dosage for prurigo nodularis
To treat prurigo nodularis in adults, the first dose of Dupixent consists of two injections of 300 mg each. This gives a total dose of 600 mg.
After the first dose, you’ll get one injection of 300 mg every other week
The Dupixent dosage for children varies depending on the condition it’s used to treat.
Children’s dosage for atopic dermatitis
In children ages 6 months to 17 years old with atopic dermatitis, the Dupixent dosage is based on body weight.
In children weighing 15 kg (33 lb) to less than 30 kg (66 lb), the first dose is two 300-mg injections given at one time. Then, they would receive one 300-mg injection once every 4 weeks.
In children weighing 30 kg (66 lb) to less than 60 kg (132 lb), the first dose is two 200-mg injections given at one time. Then, they would receive one 200-mg injection once every other week.
Children weighing 60 kg (132 lb) or more would get two 300-mg injections for the first dose. Then they would only get one 300-mg injection every other week.
Children’s dosage for eosinophilic esophagitis
To treat eosinophilic esophagitis, Dupixent is prescribed for children ages 12 years and older who weigh at least 40 kg (about 88 lb). The typical dosage for this use is one 300-mg injection every week.
This is the same as the recommended dosage for eosinophilic esophagitis in adults.
Children’s dosage for asthma
For children ages 6 to 11 years old with asthma, Dupixent’s dosage is based on body weight.
In children weighing 15 kg (33 lb) to less than 30 kg (66 lb), the recommended dosage is either:
- a 100-mg injection every other week, or
- a 300-mg injection once every 4 weeks
In children weighing 30 kg (66 lb) or more, the recommended dosage is a 200-mg injection given every other week.
How to inject
Dupixent is given as a subcutaneous injection (under the skin) in the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen. Be sure to use a different area for each injection.
Your doctor can teach you how to give yourself injections, or you can go to their office for injections. For children, it’s recommended that the doctor gives the injections in their office. You should take Dupixent according to your doctor or pharmacist’s instructions.
There are detailed instructions for Dupixent injections on the drug’s website.
About taking Dupixent
Below you’ll find information about key dosage issues.
- When to take: Dupixent is typically taken once every 1, 2, or 4 weeks. (This depends on your age and the condition being treated.) Dupixent can be taken at any time of day.
- If you miss a dose: What to do if you miss a dose of Dupixent depends on how often you take the drug and how long it’s been since your last dose. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’ve missed a dose of Dupixent. They will recommend the best time to take your next dose.
- Length of use: Dupixent is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Dupixent is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely use it long term.
- Length of time to work: Dupixent begins to work after the first injection. However, it may take a few weeks before you notice an improvement in symptoms. You should continue treatment for at least 16 weeks to determine whether Dupixent works for you. If your symptoms haven’t improved after 16 weeks, talk with your doctor. You can discuss whether you should keep taking Dupixent or switch to another treatment.
Do not use more Dupixent than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.
What to do in case of overdose
If you think you’ve use or received too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Dupixent, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.
The following drugs are similar to Dupixent:
You may wonder how Dupixent compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Dupixent and Xolair are alike and different.
|Forms||solution given by subcutaneous injection using a single-dose prefilled syringe or injection pen||solution given by subcutaneous injection using either a prefilled syringe or a vial and needle|
|Uses||to treat the following conditions in certain situations:|
• moderate to severe atopic dermatitis
• moderate to severe asthma
• eosinophilic esophagitis
• chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
• prurigo nodularis
|to treat the following conditions in certain situations:|
• moderate to severe asthma
• chronic hives
• chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
Dupixent and Xolair have some similar side effects and others that differ. To learn more about these drugs, including their potential side effects, you can refer to the prescribing information for Dupixent and Xolair.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your medication.
If you can become pregnant, consider the following information about pregnancy, birth control, and breastfeeding.
Dupixent and pregnancy
It’s not known whether Dupixent should be used during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before using this medication.
If you use Dupixent while pregnant, you could consider joining the drug’s pregnancy registry. The purpose of a pregnancy registry is to monitor how a drug affects pregnancy. If any side effects occur, they should be reported so that Dupixent use in pregnancy can be more thoroughly studied. To sign up for the pregnancy registry or learn more, call 866-626-6847 or visit the registry website.
Dupixent and birth control
It’s not known whether Dupixent is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Dupixent.
Dupixent and breastfeeding
It’s not known whether Dupixent should be used while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before using this medication.
Dupixent blocks two proteins, called interleukins, that can cause inflammation in your body. By blocking these proteins, Dupixent reduces inflammation. This can make symptoms of your condition more manageable.
For atopic dermatitis
If you have atopic dermatitis, your immune system causes inflammation under your skin. When this inflammation flares up, it can cause a dry, itchy rash on your skin. Dupixent works by reducing the inflammation. This helps relieve your symptoms and makes your skin clearer.
If you have moderate to severe asthma, your lungs may have more inflammation than someone without asthma. This can lead to coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.
Dupixent works by reducing the inflammation in your lungs. It can also help some people with asthma depend less on corticosteroid medications to treat their symptoms. Some might stop needing to use steroids for asthma altogether.
However, you should not stop or reduce your steroid medication on your own. Your doctor will help determine the treatment plan that fits your needs.
For eosinophilic esophagitis
If you have eosinophilic esophagitis, your immune system causes chronic inflammation and swelling in your esophagus. (The esophagus is a tube connecting your mouth and stomach). This can lead to difficulty swallowing, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
Dupixent works by reducing inflammation in your body, including your esophagus. This decreases the swelling in your esophagus, which helps to relieve your symptoms.
For chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps
If you have chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, you usually have long-term inflammation in your nose and sinuses. This swelling often causes congestion and difficulty breathing. Dupixent works by reducing the swelling in your nose and sinuses.
For prurigo nodularis
If you have prurigo nodularis, you may have hard skin bumps and intense itchiness. The exact cause of this condition isn’t fully known, but the symptoms are thought to involve unusual function of the immune system.
Dupixent works by blocking proteins called interleukins. These proteins are part of the immune system and are involved in causing inflammation. By blocking these proteins, the drug reduces inflammation in your body and can help ease your symptoms.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Dupixent.
Will I be able to get vaccines while I’m using Dupixent?
It depends. You should not get any live vaccines while taking Dupixent. For live vaccines, you’re injected with a small amount of a virus so your body can learn to fight it.
You should not get live vaccines while using Dupixent because the drug may reduce your immune system activity. If this happens, your body won’t be able to properly fight the vaccine, and it may make you sick.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what vaccines you may need. It’s best to get any needed vaccines before starting Dupixent.
Live vaccines you should avoid while taking Dupixent include:
Does Dupixent treat food allergies?
No, Dupixent is not used to treat food allergies at this time. Dupixent was being tested as a treatment for children with peanut allergies, but it’s not approved for this use.
Dupixent was tested along with another medication, Palforzia, that was recently approved for peanut allergies. It’s thought that the combination of Palforzia and Dupixent could allow children’s immune systems to learn not to react to peanuts. This would mean that children with severe peanut allergies who were exposed to peanuts wouldn’t have a life threatening allergic reaction. While the trial testing Dupixent’s use with Palforzia is complete, the results have not yet been made public.
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Dupixent and food allergies.
Will I still need to use topical treatments for my skin condition if I’m using Dupixent?
You might. Often, Dupixent is used along with topical corticosteroids that you apply to your skin to treat atopic dermatitis. Topical corticosteroids can help treat problem areas that already exist. Dupixent works inside your body by reducing the inflammation that causes atopic dermatitis.
Some examples of topical corticosteroids include:
- Lidex (fluocinonide)
- Kenalog (triamcinolone)
- Topicort (desoximetasone)
- Cortisone (hydrocortisone)
Like most drugs, Dupixent has certain interactions. This drug can interact with live vaccines.
Before taking Dupixent, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
For more information about Dupixent and interactions, see this in-depth article.
Interactions with live vaccines
Dupixent is known to interact with live vaccines. As such, it’s important not to get any live vaccines while using Dupixent.
Before starting Dupixent, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about any vaccines you may need. You should get any live vaccines you need before you start Dupixent.
Examples of live vaccines to avoid during Dupixent treatment include:
Alcohol is not known to interact with Dupixent. It’s likely safe to consume alcohol while using Dupixent. If you have questions about how much alcohol is safe to drink while using Dupixent, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug comes with several precautions. Before taking Dupixent, discuss your health history with your doctor. Dupixent may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. Be sure to talk with your doctor if any of the following apply to you:
- new or worsening eye conditions
- parasitic infections, such as tapeworm
- live vaccines, such as chickenpox and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
- asthma attacks
- previous allergic reaction to this drug or a similar one
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Dupixent, see the “Dupixent side effects” section above.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.