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.