Dupixent

Medically Reviewed By Femi Aremu, PharmD

Dupixent at a glance

Key highlights to know about Dupixent include:

  • Dupixent (dupilumab) is used to treat moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, moderate-to-severe asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps in adults who do not respond well to other treatments.
  • Dupixent is injected under the skin, generally into the thigh or abdomen. You should rotate the injection site with each injection.
  • Dupixent is typically a high cost drug, which is defined in this article as costing more than $100 per month.
  • Dupixent syringe or pen for injection is available as a brand-name drug only.

Important safety warnings for Dupixent

People who use Dupixent should be aware of these safety warnings:

  • Allergic reaction warning: This drug rarely causes a serious allergic reaction. Allergic reactions usually happen after one of your first doses, but they sometimes do not occur until you have been taking a drug for months.
  • Eye problem warning: This drug may cause eye pain or vision changes.
  • Eosinophilia warning: This drug may cause higher-than-normal levels of certain white blood cells that fight disease (eosinophils), leading to pneumonia, inflammation of blood vessels, and other serious health issues.
  • Corticosteroid dosage reduction warning: If you are taking corticosteroids with this drug, do not abruptly halt corticosteroid therapy. Your healthcare professional will prescribe a gradual decrease in your corticosteroid dose.
  • Parasitic infection warning: If you have an infection due to a parasite, you should receive treatment for the infection before starting this drug. If you have a parasite during Dupixent therapy and the infection does not respond to treatment, stop taking this drug until your infection clears.
  • Joint aches and pain warning: This drug may cause joint aches and pain, including difficulty walking. Tell your healthcare professional if you experience new or worsening joint pain while taking this drug.

Talk with your doctor about these warnings in the context of your individual treatment plan and medical history.

What Dupixent treats

This medication is used to treat:

  • moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, or eczema — which is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy — in people ages 6 years and older who do not respond well to, or cannot use, other treatments
  • moderate-to-severe asthma in people ages 12 years and older who do not respond well to other treatments
    • Please note that Dupixent is not a rescue medication for asthma attacks.
  • chronic rhinosinusitis, or ongoing inflammation of your nasal cavity and sinuses, and nasal polyps, which are growths on the lining of your nose or sinuses, in adults who do not respond well to other treatments

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications for different uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about other uses for this medication.

How it works

Dupixent is a prescription drug that belongs to a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. Dupixent works by blocking two proteins that contribute to a type of inflammation involved in atopic dermatitis, asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

Dupixent comes in a syringe or medication pen that you use to inject the drug under your skin. Dupixent is currently not available as a generic medication. It is available as a brand-name drug only.

Side effects of Dupixent

Dupixent side effects are possible and may go away with continued use. Serious side effects are rare.

Common side effects

The more common side effects that occur with Dupixent include:

  • Injection site reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • eye and eyelid inflammation, including redness, swelling, itching, and blurry vision
    • pain in the throat
    • cold sores in your mouth or on your lips
    • difficulty sleeping
    • toothache
  • Joint pain.
  • Inflammation of your stomach lining.
  • Higher-than-normal levels of certain white blood cells that fight disease (eosinophilia).

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life threatening symptoms, such as:

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Serious allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue
    • fever
    • swollen lymph nodes
    • hives
    • itching
    • fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness
    • joint pain
    • rash
    • trouble swallowing
    • breathing problems
    • general ill feeling
  • Eye problems. Symptoms can include:
  • Inflammation of your blood vessels. Symptoms can include:

Other side effects are possible. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any side effects that bother you or that do not go away. Your healthcare professional may monitor your blood cell counts after you begin taking Dupixent, but it is not required.

Costs of Dupixent

Without insurance, Dupixent is typically a high cost drug, which is defined in this article as costing more than $100 per month. You can check the out-of-pocket cash pay price for Dupixent on prescription drug discount websites.

With insurance, prices can vary considerably. Individual health plans may have preferred drugs with better pricing. If the price of Dupixent on your health plan is too expensive, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is an equivalent drug you can substitute.  

How Dupixent may interact with other medicines

Dupixent may interact with other prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you may be taking. To help avoid harmful interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you are taking, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

This is not a complete list of drugs that may interact with Dupixent. However, examples of drugs that may interact with Dupixent include the following.

Live vaccines

Avoid the use of live vaccines if you are taking Dupixent, as the vaccine may not work as well and may not fully protect you from disease.

Examples of live vaccines include:

  • measlesmumps, and rubella (MMR)
  • polio
  • rotavirus
  • typhoid
  • yellow fever
  • varicella, which protects against chickenpox
  • zoster, which protects against shingles
  • flu, but only the nasal spray vaccine

Disclaimer: Since drugs interact differently in each person, this information is not guaranteed to include all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you are taking.

Other Dupixent alerts

This drug comes with several alerts and warnings.

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue
  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • hives
  • itching
  • fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • joint pain
  • rash
  • difficulty swallowing
  • breathing problems
  • general ill feeling

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life threatening symptoms, such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • a loss of consciousness
  • sudden vision changes
  • swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat

Do not take this drug again if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could cause death.

Warnings for other groups

This drug has not been studied in children younger than 6 years of age with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis or with asthma. It has also not been studied in those younger than 18 years of age with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

For pregnant and breastfeeding people

There is limited information on the safety of Dupixent for pregnant and breastfeeding people.

Can I take Dupixent when pregnant?

Reports have not shown that this drug is associated with a risk of major congenital anomalies or miscarriage in pregnant people. However, it is not known with certainty if this drug will harm your unborn baby. Dupixent may be transferred from the birthing parent to the unborn baby during pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant and are receiving Dupixent. A pregnancy exposure registry exists for people who take this drug during pregnancy. It collects information about the health of the birthing parent and the fetus. To enroll or get more information, call 866-626-6847 or visit this website.

Can I take Dupixent when breastfeeding?

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk or if this drug has effects on the breastfed infant or on milk production. Talk with your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

How and when to take Dupixent

This drug is administered as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection, usually into the thigh or abdomen, avoiding the 2 inches around your navel. Rotate the injection site with each injection. Do not inject this drug into your skin if it is tender, damaged, bruised, or scarred.

A nurse or another healthcare professional will inject the first dose. You may be able to self-inject this drug after receiving training from your healthcare professional.

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take Dupixent will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • the severity of your condition
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Drug forms and strengths

Dupixent comes in the form of a prefilled syringe. In this form, it is available in the following strengths:

  • 300 milligrams (mg) per 2 milliliters (ml) of solution
  • 200 mg/1.14 ml solution
  • 100 mg/0.67 ml solution

Dupixent also comes in the form of a prefilled pen. In this form, it is available in the following strengths:

  • 300 mg/2 ml solution
  • 200 mg/1.14 ml solution

Dosage for atopic dermatitis

The typical dosage for adults ages 18 years and over is an initial dose of 600 mg (two 300-mg injections) followed by 300 mg every other week.

In children ages 6–17 years, initial and subsequent doses are based on body weight.

This medication has not been studied in children with atopic dermatitis who are younger than 6 years of age.

Dosage for asthma

For people ages 12 years above, there is:

  • an initial dose of 400 mg (two 200-mg injections) followed by 200 mg every other week, or
  • an initial dose of 600 mg (two 300-mg injections) followed by 300 mg every other week

If you have corticosteroid-dependent asthma or moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, the initial dose is 600 mg followed by 300 mg every other week.

This medication has not been studied in children with asthma who are younger than 6 years of age.

Dosage for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis

The typical dosage for adults ages 18 years and over is 300 mg every other week.

This medication has not been studied in children with chronic rhinosinusitis younger who are than 18 years of age.

If you miss a dose of Dupixent

If your dose schedule of Dupixent is every other week and you miss a dose, take the injection within 7 days from the missed dose, then continue with your original schedule. If you do not take your missed dose within 7 days, wait until the next scheduled dose to administer your injection.

If your dose schedule of Dupixent is every 4 weeks and you miss a dose, take the injection within 7 days from the missed dose, then continue with your original schedule. If you do not take your missed dose within 7 days, start a new every-4-week dose schedule from when you remember to take your injection.

If you skip or miss doses, your asthma, atopic dermatitis, or nasal polyps may worsen.

If you take too much Dupixent

If you take too much Dupixent, you have a higher risk of having side effects caused by this drug. If you think you have taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center at 800-222-1222.

Seek emergency care (call 911) if you experience life threatening symptoms, such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • a loss of consciousness
  • sudden vision changes
  • swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat

Helpful tips when taking Dupixent

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes Dupixent for you.

General

  • If you are using this drug for asthma, you should not take it to treat sudden breathing problems. Dupixent is not a rescue medication for asthma attacks.
  • If you are using a prefilled syringe or pen that has been refrigerated, allow it to warm to room temperature before injecting the drug.
  • Use each syringe or pen only once. Dispose of used syringes and pens in an appropriate hard container.
  • Always look at the drug solution before injecting it to make sure there are no visible particles in the solution.
  • Do not use a syringe or pen if it is cracked or broken, if it is expired or frozen, or if the liquid is cloudy or contains small particles.

Storage

  • Store this drug in the refrigerator between 36°F and 46°F (2°C and 8°C). If necessary, you may keep the drug at room temperature up to 77°F (25°C) for a maximum of 14 days. After removing this drug from the refrigerator, you must use it within 14 days or throw it away.
  • Do not freeze this drug.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Do not store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Alcohol

There are no known interactions between Dupixent and alcohol. If you are concerned about taking Dupixent while drinking alcohol, talk with your doctor.

Refills

Your doctor will write the number of authorized refills on your prescription. Talk with your pharmacist if you have questions about refills.

Travel

When planning to travel, keep these tips in mind for packing your medication:

  • Bring enough medication for the full number of days of your trip, plus at least 2 days to be safe.
  • When flying, keep your medication with you in a purse or a carry-on bag. Do not put it into a checked bag in case you are separated from your luggage.
  • Liquid, gel, cream, and aerosol medications are exempt from the 3-1-1 liquid rule for flying.
  • Keep your medications in their original containers, if possible, to reduce delays during airport or security screening. Keep all your medications together to quicken the process.
  • Avoid leaving your medication in a parked car for extended periods to protect it from extreme temperatures.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it. Dupixent is usually only available at select specialty pharmacies.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means that your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Medications similar to Dupixent

Dupixent is usually prescribed when people do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, other medications for asthma, atopic dermatitis, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.

Although Dupixent is one of several monoclonal antibody drugs, no other currently available monoclonal antibody works exactly like Dupixent.

Discontinuing use of Dupixent

Do not stop taking Dupixent unless instructed by your doctor.

Healthgrades disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only. It should not be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Healthgrades takes every effort to ensure this information is accurate and up to date. This content is not intended to cover all possible uses, side effects, warnings, precautions, allergic reactions, or drug interactions. Do not assume that the absence of such information means the medication is safe for your personal use. Always consult your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any medication.  

Medical Reviewer: Femi Aremu, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2021 May 18
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.