by Dr. Simi Paknikar on  July 30, 2013 at 2:21 PM Health In Focus
Asthma Drug Approved in UK for Adults and Children Between 6-11 Yrs
The monoclonal antibody, omalizumab, has been approved by NICE for severe asthma in children between the ages of 6 to 11 years in the United Kingdom.

Asthma is a disease that affects a huge number of individuals including children the world over. It is an allergic reaction to a trigger that varies among individuals. Though asthma cannot be completely cured, most often, asthma symptoms of breathlessness and wheezing are controlled with the help of available medications. Some people suffer from very severe asthma. This type of asthma could result in death if not treated early. These patients are treated with high-dose steroids. Their activities are also limited since they live in a constant fear of suffering the next asthma attack.

Newer medications like Omalizumab have helped to deal with cases of severe allergic asthma. The use of this medication has reduced the need and therefore helped to avoid the side effects of asthma. It is administered in the required dose as an injection every 2 to 4 weeks and acts by preventing severe asthma attacks, thereby reducing the need for hospitalization and decreases the chances of deaths due to asthma.

Omalizumab had been approved earlier in 2007 by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom for adults and children over the age of 12 years only after they had been admitted at least once for a severe asthma attack. However, it was later discontinued since NICE felt that it was less affordable and effective than it had thought.

Due to outcry from the patients as well as the medical community, as well as based on the results of various drug trials in asthma patients, Omalizumab has again been re-introduced; this time, children between the ages of 6 and 11 years are also eligible for the medication. Though the individuals do not require undergoing hospitalization to be eligible for the treatment, they have to undergo at least four courses of steroids before they can receive this medication.

This decision by NICE will hopefully benefit a large number of patients of severe asthma in the United Kingdom.

Source: Medindia

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