Biologics for Children With Asthma

Drug Topics Journal, Drug Topics November 2021, Volume 165, Issue 11

Omalizumab (Xolair) is the oldest available biologic for asthma and is anti–IgE. Mepolizumab, an anti–IL-5 biologic, has been shown to reduce exacerbations and eosinophils and result in improved markers of control.

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in childhood, affecting 1 of every 12 children, said Heather De Keyser, MD, MS, assistant professor of pediatric pulmonology at the Breathing Institute, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, during her presentation at the 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition. Biologics for asthma and allergic skin disease target certain markers such as IgE, IL-5, and IL-4. The agents can be administered either at home or in a clinician’s office, De Keyser said.

Omalizumab (Xolair) is the oldest available biologic for asthma and is anti–IgE. Mepolizumab, an anti–IL-5 biologic, has been shown to reduce exacerbations and eosinophils and result in improved markers of control. Benralizumab (Fasenra), an anti–IL-5 biologic, significantly reduced exacerbation risk and increased markers of lung function in patients with higher eosinophil levels. Omalizumab is also approved for the treatment of chronic idiopathic urticaria.

De Keyser recommended health care providers evaluate medication adherence in patients with poorly controlled asthma, atopic dermatitis, or urticaria and become knowledgeable about the adverse effects of biologics.