Omalizumab (Xolair) is a medicine approved by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in people age 12 and older who have moderate
or severe persistent
asthma. This medicine costs a lot more than any of the standard
treatments for asthma.
This medicine may help reduce asthma episodes, improve
peak expiratory flow (PEF), and reduce the need for other
medicines. It may also reduce emergency room visits and hospital stays. But more study is needed.
Omalizumab is given as a shot. The dose depends on your body
weight and IgE level.
Your doctor may recommend this medicine if:
Your asthma is not well controlled after using inhaled
corticosteroids and long-acting beta2-agonists or
leukotriene pathway modifiers for 3 months. People who use oral or injected
corticosteroids or who need high doses of inhaled corticosteroids
for daily control can also consider using this medicine.
You have severe allergic asthma and your symptoms aren't relieved by avoiding allergens or taking other medicines.
allergic reactions, including
anaphylaxis, can occur with omalizumab,
but this is rare. So people who get this medicine are watched for 2 hours
after they get their first 2 doses. They should also carry epinephrine
in case they have an allergic reaction after treatment.
Chung KF, et al. (2014). International ERS/ATS guidelines on definition, evaluation and treatment of severe asthma. European Respiratory Journal, 43(2): 343-373. DOI: 10.1183/09031936.00202013. Accessed March 11, 2014.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.