Asthma Drug Approved to Treat Food Allergy

( – On Friday, February 16, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the asthma drug Xolair to help reduce symptoms of allergic reactions in people with food allergies.

The drug was first introduced in 2003 for allergic asthma treatment. It is administered through injections every month, with dosage based on the patient’s weight. Dr. Kelly Stone, Associate Director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, stated that its newly approved use provides a treatment option for specific patients who might have untreated food allergies.

The FDA said that continuous use of Xolair could decrease the risk of allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, in adults and children after accidental exposure to food allergens like peanuts, wheat, or eggs. While the medication won’t get rid of food allergies, if used repeatedly, it is supposed to alleviate the symptoms in case of accidental exposure.

However, Xolair is not meant to be used for severe and immediate reactions. Emergency situations that require swift medical intervention are usually treated by an epi-pen injection.

Novartis, the creator of Xolair, views the FDA approval as a new tool for managing life-threatening food allergies. They emphasised that it also helps mitigate peopleĀ“s ongoing fear of trying new food.

The FDA’s decision was based on a placebo study involving 166 people aged 1 to 55 who have peanut and other food allergies. They were observing the percentage of people able to eat one serving of peanut protein without moderate to severe allergic symptoms at the end of the course of treatment. Around 70% of people in the test using Xolair did not have a severe reaction.

The monthly list price of Xolair for children, estimated by Genentech, would be approximately $3,000 and for adults, around $5,000. The exact money paid by most patients may change depending on insurance or being part of a financial assistance program.

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