Unlike conventional treatments for severe asthma, biologics for asthma aim to attack the source of the disease and not just the symptoms. The findings were presented at the 2015 ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting in San Antonio.
Presenter at the meeting, Kevin Murphy, M.D., said, “Biologics is definitely something that has piqued the interest of physicians, including allergists, throughout medicine. Traditional asthma treatments don’t work for some people, and their asthma is uncontrolled. Biologics is at the cutting edge of treatment because it has the potential to be personalized – to be formulated to treat those cells which are the mechanism, or pathway, that leads to allergic inflammation and makes it so hard for some people to breathe.”
There is currently one biologic approved by the FDA but many more are in the works. The product Omalizumab is safe for the treatment of severe asthma in those over the age of 12.
Allergist and fellow presenter Rohit Katial, M.D., said, “For many years, our primary tools for combatting severe asthma have been either bronchodilators, known as quick-relief medicines, or long-term control medicines which are taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks. We also use immunotherapy, allergy shots, to reduce the allergic reactions which cause asthma attacks. Biologics target the cells and pathways that cause the allergic inflammation that has been linked to asthma.”
Treatments for severe asthma with a biologic are done through an IV or injection every two weeks or once a month. Patients find they have an easier time breathing and have fewer asthma attacks.