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. Omalizumab is much more expensive than any of the conventional
treatments for asthma.
Omalizumab may help reduce asthma episodes, improve
peak expiratory flow (PEF), reduce the need for other
medicines, and reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations. But more study is needed.
Omalizumab is injected, and the dose is determined by a person's 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
(systemic) corticosteroids or who require high doses of inhaled corticosteroids
for daily control can also consider using omalizumab.
You have severe allergic asthma and your symptoms aren't relieved by avoiding allergens or taking other medicines.
allergic reactions, including
anaphylaxis, are possible when taking omalizumab,
but this is rare. So people who get omalizumab are watched for 2 hours
after they receive their first 2 doses. They should also carry epinephrine
in case they have an allergic reaction after omalizumab
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.