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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Anti-IL5 therapies for asthma

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (77th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 policy source
39 tweeters
1 patent
3 Facebook pages


283 Dimensions

Readers on

337 Mendeley
Anti-IL5 therapies for asthma
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, September 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010834.pub3
Pubmed ID

Hugo A Farne, Amanda Wilson, Colin Powell, Lynne Bax, Stephen J Milan


This review is the first update of a previously published review in The Cochrane Library (Issue 7, 2015). Interleukin-5 (IL-5) is the main cytokine involved in the activation of eosinophils, which cause airway inflammation and are a classic feature of asthma. Monoclonal antibodies targeting IL-5 or its receptor (IL-5R) have been developed, with recent studies suggesting that they reduce asthma exacerbations, improve health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and lung function. These are being incorporated into asthma guidelines. To compare the effects of therapies targeting IL-5 signalling (anti-IL-5 or anti-IL-5Rα) with placebo on exacerbations, health-related qualify of life (HRQoL) measures, and lung function in adults and children with chronic asthma, and specifically in those with eosinophilic asthma refractory to existing treatments. We searched the Cochrane Airways Trials Register, clinical trials registries, manufacturers' websites, and reference lists of included studies. The most recent search was March 2017. We included randomised controlled trials comparing mepolizumab, reslizumab and benralizumab versus placebo in adults and children with asthma. Two authors independently extracted data and analysed outcomes using a random-effects model. We used standard methods expected by Cochrane. Thirteen studies on 6000 participants met the inclusion criteria. Four used mepolizumab, four used reslizumab, and five used benralizumab. One study in benralizumab was terminated early due to sponsor decision and contributed no data. The studies were predominantly on people with severe eosinophilic asthma, which was similarly but variably defined. Eight included children over 12 years but these results were not reported separately. We deemed the risk of bias to be low, with all studies contributing data being of robust methodology. We considered the quality of the evidence for all comparisons to be high overall using the GRADE scheme, with the exception of intravenous mepolizumab because this is not currently a licensed delivery route.All of the anti-IL-5 treatments assessed reduced rates of 'clinically significant' asthma exacerbation (defined by treatment with systemic corticosteroids for three days or more) by approximately half in participants with severe eosinophilic asthma on standard of care (at least medium-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)) with poorly controlled disease (either two or more exacerbations in the preceding year or Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) 1.5 or more). Non-eosinophilic participants treated with benralizumab also showed a significant reduction in exacerbation rates, but no data were available for non-eosinophilic participants, and mepolizumab or reslizumab.We saw modest improvements in validated HRQoL scores with all anti-IL-5 agents in severe eosinophilic asthma. However these did not exceed the minimum clinically important difference for ACQ and Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ), with St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) only assessed in two studies. The improvement in HRQoL scores in non-eosinophilic participants treated with benralizumab, the only intervention for which data were available in this subset, was not statistically significant, but the test for subgroup difference was negative.All anti-IL-5 treatments produced a small but statistically significant improvement in mean pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory flow in one second (FEV1) of between 0.08 L and 0.11 L.There were no excess serious adverse events with any anti-IL-5 treatment, and indeed a reduction in favour of mepolizumab that could be due to a beneficial effect on asthma-related serious adverse events. There was no difference compared to placebo in adverse events leading to discontinuation with mepolizumab or reslizumab, but significantly more discontinued benralizumab than placebo, although the absolute numbers were small (36/1599 benralizumab versus 9/998 placebo).Mepolizumab, reslizumab and benralizumab all markedly reduced blood eosinophils, but benralizumab resulted in almost complete depletion, whereas a small number remained with mepolizumab and reslizumab. The implications for efficacy and/or adverse events are unclear. Overall our study supports the use of anti-IL-5 treatments as an adjunct to standard of care in people with severe eosinophilic asthma and poor control. These treatments roughly halve the rate of asthma exacerbations in this population. There is limited evidence for improved HRQoL scores and lung function, which may not meet clinically detectable levels. There were no safety concerns regarding mepolizumab or reslizumab, and no excess serious adverse events with benralizumab, although there remains a question over adverse events significant enough to prompt discontinuation.Further research is needed on biomarkers for assessing treatment response, optimal duration and long-term effects of treatment, risk of relapse on withdrawal, non-eosinophilic patients, children (particularly under 12 years), and comparing anti-IL-5 treatments to each other and, in people eligible for both, to anti-immunoglobulin E. For benralizumab, future studies should closely monitor rates of adverse events prompting discontinuation.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 39 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 337 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 337 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Bachelor 39 12%
Student > Master 38 11%
Researcher 35 10%
Student > Ph. D. Student 29 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 27 8%
Other 74 22%
Unknown 95 28%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 118 35%
Nursing and Health Professions 24 7%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 23 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 17 5%
Immunology and Microbiology 13 4%
Other 31 9%
Unknown 111 33%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 38. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 December 2020.
All research outputs
of 21,911,552 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 12,134 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 296,078 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 236 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,911,552 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 12,134 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 29.7. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 296,078 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 236 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its contemporaries.