5 Things to Know About Severe Eosinophilic Asthma – Why All Asthma Is Not the Same
Posted: October 15, 2020 | Word Count: 871
This content was sponsored by GSK.
If you have asthma, even if you are taking your medications, you still may be worried about your next attack.
It’s important to know that not all asthma is the same – elevated eosinophil levels may be a key differentiating factor. Eosinophils are white blood cells that are part of the body’s normal immune system, and research has shown that an elevated number of these cells may cause inflammation in the lungs. Inflammation can increase the risk of asthma attacks. Here are 5 quick things to know about what sets severe eosinophilic asthma apart from other forms of asthma.
- No two cases of asthma are exactly the same
Asthma is a chronic lung disease where inflammation in the lungs narrows airways. However, the underlying cause of this inflammation can differ from person to person. Because of this, no two cases of asthma are the same and understanding triggers is key to management. Some forms of asthma may have an underlying cause, like elevated eosinophil levels causing lung inflammation.
- Living with severe asthma means poor symptom control, worsening asthma, and ER visits have become the norm you’ve accepted despite treatment
It is estimated 1 in 13 people in the U.S. have asthma, and of those, 5 to 10 percent have severe asthma, or asthma where a person is still struggling with symptoms and suffering asthma attacks despite taking medication as prescribed. Many people may not realize their asthma is considered severe and continue to live with the symptoms.
- Your body’s immune system may be overreacting
As part of the body’s normal immune system, we have a type of white blood cell called eosinophils. Eosinophils are an important part of our immune system that fight infection and keep us healthy. But in some people with asthma, a higher level of eosinophils can cause inflammation and swelling in the airways, increasing the risk of asthma attacks.
- A simple test can determine if you might have severe eosinophilic asthma
Eosinophils are measured through a simple blood test. About half of people with severe asthma have elevated levels of eosinophils, giving the condition its name – severe eosinophilic asthma. Although a connection between eosinophils and asthma was established over 100 years ago, it was only recently that doctors understood eosinophil levels can help guide targeted treatments in people with frequent asthma attacks.
- Talk to your doctor about severe eosinophilic asthma and ways to treat it
Today, there are treatment options available to help manage the condition, including NUCALA (mepolizumab). NUCALA is an add-on, prescription maintenance treatment for patients 6 and older with severe eosinophilic asthma. NUCALA is not used to treat sudden breathing problems. The addition of NUCALA to your other asthma medications can help prevent severe asthma attacks and reduce the use of oral steroids while maintaining asthma control. Results may vary.
Important Safety Information
Do not use NUCALA if you are allergic to mepolizumab or any of the ingredients in NUCALA.
Do not use to treat sudden breathing problems.
NUCALA can cause serious side effects, including:
- allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions, including anaphylaxis. Serious allergic reactions can happen after you get your injection of NUCALA. Allergic reactions can sometimes happen hours or days after you get a dose of NUCALA. Tell your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:
- swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue
- breathing problems
- fainting, dizziness, feeling light-headed (low blood pressure)
- Herpes zoster infections that can cause shingles have happened in people who received NUCALA.
Before receiving NUCALA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- are taking oral or inhaled corticosteroid medicines. Do not stop taking your other asthma medicines, including your corticosteroid medicines, unless instructed by your healthcare provider because this may cause other symptoms to come back.
- have a parasitic (helminth) infection.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if NUCALA may harm your unborn baby.
- A pregnancy registry for women who receive NUCALA while pregnant collects information about the health of you and your baby. You can talk to your healthcare provider about how to take part in this registry or you can get more information and register by calling 1-877-311-8972 or visit www.mothertobaby.org/asthma.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will use NUCALA and breastfeed. You should not do both without talking with your healthcare provider first.
- are taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
The most common side effects of NUCALA include: headache, injection site reactions (pain, redness, swelling, itching, or a burning feeling at the injection site), back pain, and weakness (fatigue).
Visit www.nucala.com to access useful resources and learn more about severe eosinophilic asthma.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
NUCALA is available as a 100 mg/mL vial, Autoinjector, and prefilled syringe.
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