What is Xolair Uses, warnings & interactions
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Xolair (omalizumab) is an injectable biologic medication that is manufactured by Genentech, Inc. It was approved in 2003 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat asthma symptoms, nasal polyps, and chronic hives. Your first dose of Xolair is typically given in a healthcare setting such as your doctor’s office due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.
If your doctor has prescribed Xolair to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Xolair is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Xolair used for?
Xolair (omalizumab) is an anti-IgE antibody indicated to treat:
- Moderate to severe persistent asthma in patients 6 years of age and older who failed other asthma medications such as inhaled corticosteroids.
- Nasal polyps in adults who did not respond to nasal corticosteroids.
- Chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), which used to be called chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU), in patients 12 years of age and older who still have symptoms taking antihistamines.
Xolair should not be used to treat acute asthma attacks or other allergic conditions besides CSU.
How does Xolair work?
Xolair is an anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody. IgE plays an essential role in your immune system’s response to allergens. Xolair binds to IgE receptors in mast cells, preventing them from releasing histamine and other chemicals that are associated with your body’s allergic response as well as inflammation. Xolair can reduce the IgE levels in your blood by more than 90%, which helps reduce the symptoms of asthma and other conditions.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Xolair?
- 75mg/0.5ml single-dose prefilled syringe
- 150mg/ml single-dose prefilled syringe
- 150mg of powder in a single-dose vial for reconstitution
Before taking Xolair
Before beginning Xolair, tell your doctor about your medical conditions, including:
- Latex allergy
- Sudden trouble breathing (bronchospasm)
- History of anaphylaxis
- Current or past parasitic infection
- History of cancer
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Xolair
- Read the Full Prescribing Information, Patient Information, and Medication Guide that comes with Xolair.
- Your first dose of Xolair should be given by your doctor in a healthcare setting. If your doctor determines you or a caregiver can give your dose with Xolair prefilled syringe injections, they should show you how to prepare and inject this medication.
- Use Xolair exactly as your doctor prescribes it to you. Do not change your dose or stop this medication without discussing it with them.
- Children ages 6 to 11 years should be given their dose by an adult caregiver. Children 12 years and older can give themselves injections under adult supervision.
- Xolair is typically given as 1 or more subcutaneous injections (under the skin), once every 2 or 4 weeks.
- You should have a blood test for IgE to determine your dose and frequency of Xolair if you are being treated for nasal polyps or asthma. This test is not needed if you are being treated for hives.
- If your asthma symptoms do not improve or worsen with Xolair treatment, call your doctor right away.
You should not use Xolair if you have an allergy to omalizumab or any other ingredients in Xolair.
- Xolair should be initiated in a healthcare setting as it can cause life-threatening allergic reactions.
- An increased risk of cancer was observed in clinical studies.
- Xolair should not be used to treat acute bronchospasms or asthma attacks.
- Stop Xolair if you develop signs and symptoms such as fever, joint pain, and rash.
Xolair drug interactions
When Xolair is taken with other medications, it may change the way they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. No formal drug interaction studies have been performed with Xolair. However, you should discuss with your doctor whether any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may interact with this medication.
Xolair side effects
The most common side effects of Xolair in clinical trials include:
- Joint pain
- General pain
- Injection site reactions
- Leg pain
- Sinus infections
- Sore throat
- Common cold symptoms
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Nose bleeds
Xolair can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Allergic reactions (hives, chest tightness, low blood pressure, and shortness of breath)
- Increased risk of heart attack, blood clots, and chest pain
- Increased risk of cancer
- Inflammation of the blood vessels
- High risk of parasitic infections
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects you experience while taking Xolair. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your healthcare professional can prescribe other medications for your condition if Xolair is not right for you. These other treatment options will vary by factors such as the condition being treated, side effects, and costs. Some FDA-approved alternatives to Xolair include:
- Cinqair (reslizumab)
- Fasenra (benralizumab)
- Fasenra Pen (benralizumab)
- Nucala (mepolizumab)
- Tezspire (tezepelumab)
Can you take Xolair while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
According to the package insert, a registry study of Xolair use during pregnancy showed no increase in the rate of major birth defects or miscarriage. While there is no data on whether Xolair is found in breast milk, the majority of the infants in the registry study were breastfed and no major adverse events were observed. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Is Xolair a steroid?
Xolair is not an inhaler, a steroid, or a medication you take every day. It is a monoclonal antibody that is injected under your skin every 2 to 4 weeks.
What cancers are associated with Xolair?
The most common cancers observed from patients taking Xolair were melanoma, breast, prostate, and non-melanoma skin cancer.
What is the cost of Xolair?
The average cost for #1, 150mg vial of Xolair injection is almost $1300.
Is there a generic for Xolair?
Currently, there is no generic Xolair available on the market. However, you can still save on brand-name drugs like Xolair through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.