Analysis Group and AstraZeneca Researchers Fill Real-World Data Gap for Providers Treating Severe Asthma Sufferers

Date:April 5, 2022
Location:Boston, MA
Contact:Eric Seymour
+1 978 273 6049

Researchers from Analysis Group, a global leader in health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), and AstraZeneca have published results from their ZEPHYR 1 study, the first real-world study documenting the clinical utility and economic benefits of benralizumab, a biologic therapy for patients suffering from eosinophilic asthma. While the efficacy of benralizumab has been demonstrated in multiple clinical trials, practitioners have had little real-world data on the medication to support treatment decisions for this severe and difficult-to-treat form of asthma.

The study, published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and funded by AstraZeneca, fills this knowledge gap by analyzing claims data on patients being treated with benralizumab in real-word clinical settings. The researchers assessed the drug’s impact on asthma exacerbations, concomitant asthma treatments, asthma exacerbation-related health care resource utilization (HCRU), and medical costs. Key findings include the following:

  • Exacerbation rates fell 48% for inpatient hospitalization, 53% for emergency department (ED) visits, and 59% for outpatient settings. In addition, 41% of patients had no exacerbation episodes in the 12 months following benralizumab initiation.
  • The average oral corticosteroid (OCS) dosage decreased from 1398 mg to 630 mg, while use of concomitant asthma medications decreased significantly, including a 32% reduction in OCS use by patients in the 12 months after benralizumab initiation.
  • Exacerbation-related HCRU dropped 42% for inpatient hospitalization, 46% for ED visits, and 57% for outpatient settings, while the average exacerbation-related inpatient hospitalization days dropped from 2.78 to 1.65.
  • Exacerbation-related medical costs decreased by 42% for inpatient stays, 46% for ED visits, and 57% for outpatient visits.

These data are particularly important for clinicians who are seeking alternatives to traditional corticosteroids for treating severe asthma.

“The medical community is well aware that the cumulative exposure to oral corticosteroids to control asthma symptoms is associated with obesity, diabetes, bone density loss, cardiovascular disease, and many other long-term concerns for patients,” said Donna Carstens, M.D., Senior Medical Director Respiratory, Fasenra with AstraZeneca. “The targeted activity of biologics like benralizumab towards the underlying cause of inflammation has the potential to significantly reduce or eliminate the need for oral corticosteroids in a manner not achieved with previous treatments, and is anticipated to reduce the adverse events associated with this class of medication.”

Study investigator Fan Mu, Ph.D., a Vice President with Analysis Group, noted, “To truly fill this knowledge gap so that providers could improve treatment, it was important that the claims data encompassed as broad a spectrum of real-world patients as possible, and not be limited to those participating in the numerous smaller research studies available. The insurance claims dataset we used contained medical and pharmacy claims with information on patient demographics, prescriptions, procedures, and diagnoses from over 150 unique payers and over 115 million patients across the US.”

The study, “Real-world effectiveness of benralizumab: results from the ZEPHYR 1 Study,” was published in March by Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. In addition to Dr. Carstens and Dr. Mu, investigators included AstraZeneca’s Yen Chung, Pharm.D., and Rohit Katial, M.D., and, Analysis Group’s Vice President Keith Betts, Ph.D., Manager Erin Cook, Sc.D., and Senior Analysts Joshua Young and Danni Yang. To learn more about Analysis Group’s HEOR capabilities, visit

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About Analysis Group’s HEOR Practice

Founded in 1981, Analysis Group is one of the largest international economics consulting firms, with more than 1,000 professionals across 14 offices. Analysis Group’s health care experts apply analytical expertise to health economics and outcomes research, clinical research, market access and commercial strategy, and health care policy engagements, as well as drug safety-related engagements in epidemiology. Analysis Group’s internal experts, together with its network of affiliated experts from academia, industry, and government, provide our clients with exceptional breadth and depth of expertise and end-to-end consulting services globally.