Even if you don’t suffer from asthma, you may know how most patients with the breathing condition are treated. Treatment typically involves long-term control medications to help decrease asthma attacks and quick-relief medications to treat symptoms during an attack.
That approach works well for most patients with mild to moderate asthma. No so for anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of patients with more severe asthma.
For those patients who have tried conventional asthma treatments but have not found relief, Dr. Bowen now provides biologics for the treatment of severe asthma.
If other treatments are not adequately managing your asthma symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bowen on Zocdoc or call 212.480.4062 for an evaluation. Appointments will be confirmed by office staff.
What are biologics and how are they different from conventional asthma treatments?
Biologics are a newer group of prescription drugs that help to manage symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing when other medications have failed.
Biologics are genetically engineered proteins. They are designed to target specific substances in your immune system that cause inflammation. These new drugs may prevent some patients from having asthma attacks. They can also reduce the severity of an attack.
What are the biologic drugs being used by Dr. Bowen for asthma treatment?
The FDA has approved five biologic drugs for asthma treatment:
- omalizumab (brand name Xolair)
- mepolizumab (brand name Nucala)
- reslizumab (brand name Cinqair)
- benralizumab (brand name Fasenra)
- dupilumab (brand name Dupixent)
Xolair is for asthma patients who also have allergies to substances such as dust, pollen, and pet dander. Xolair works by blocking allergic antibodies.
Nucala, Cinqair, and Fasenra treat a severe form of asthma called eosinophilic asthma. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell used by your immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria, and other germs. But if there are too many eosinophils, they can cause inflammation and swelling, making it hard to breathe. These three biologics target a protein that activates overproduction of eosinophils.
Dupixent is used to treat moderate and severe eosinophilic asthma. It is the only drug for these patients, and it blocks two proteins that drive allergic inflammation in asthma.
Other drugs are in the pipeline of development and approval.
Dr. Bowen will match the above biologic to the kind of asthma you have.
What are the benefits of biologic drugs for asthma treatment?
For 5 to 10 percent of asthma patients the current available treatments of long-term control and short-term symptom relief don’t adequately manage their symptoms.
Biologics take a different approach, and this is providing treatment for this group of patients in need. Biologics don’t treat the symptoms of asthma. Instead, they work on the underlying molecular causes of asthma.
Dr. Bowen uses biologics for patients who haven’t improved with inhaled corticosteroids, short-acting beta-agonists, and other standard treatments.
As mentioned above, biologics may prevent a person from having asthma attacks, and they can make attacks that do occur less severe.
How long will I need to be on a biologic for my asthma?
These are a new class of medications for severe asthma. Although they have received FDA clearance for asthma treatment, they have not been around long enough to know if they will eventually eliminate the patient’s asthma attacks or if the medications will need to be an ongoing thing.
One thing to know — despite the effectiveness of these biologics, patients still will continue to take all their asthma medications and inhalers. It’s likely these will be able to be decreased, but not initially.
How are these biologics administered?
- Xolair is given as one or two injections. These are given every 2 or 4 weeks.
- Nucala is given as an injection once monthly.
- Cinqair is administered as an intravenous infusion. These take about 20-50 minutes and are given once monthly.
- Fasenra is given as an injection once every 4 weeks for the first 3 doses, then once every 8 weeks from there on.
- Dupixent is given as an injection twice monthly.
“Dr. Bowen is very thorough and attentive. He truly cares about your well being. He is very detail oriented and makes certain that you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan.” – Toni S.