When our daughter Ava’s asthma was diagnosed as allergic asthma, her specialist reviewed her IgE levels and started her on Xolair. As mentioned in my previous post, Xolair works by binding to IgE, an antibody that is produced during allergic reactions, and neutralizing its actions. Xolair is given by intramuscular injection one to two times per month, with dosage based on the patient’s weight and overall IgE levels. Ava has now had one injection every month for six straight months.
While these results may not be the same for everyone, I want to share with you what we have seen over the last six months.
We have seen a significant reduction, if not elimination, of Ava’s normal allergy symptoms. Having a runny nose and sneezing every time you are outside is really a pain for a kid who just wants to play with her friends. Thankfully she has been playing outside and even went hiking with her auntie without any allergy symptoms.
From the first Xolair injection we saw a drastic reduction in the number of times we had to use our daughter’s rescue inhaler. She still pre-medicates before exercise to be on the safe side but she has not had more than one or two asthma attacks since beginning the medication. Two asthma attacks in six months is a huge reduction from an average of two per week.
Other benefits we weren’t anticipating
While we were expecting to see an improvement in Ava’s asthma and allergies we saw additional improvements in her health that we believe to be from the Xolair injections as well. Ava has struggled with severe eczema for pretty much her entire life but after one week on Xolair the eczema was gone!
Ava also has several food allergies and had struggled with stomach aches for years. We tested her and pulled the offending foods but she still had issues with her stomach. After a month on Xolair, though, we noticed that she had not had one stomach ache. In six months on the injections she had only thrown up once and it was from a stomach bug contracted at school! While I don’t know for sure if these benefits were from the Xolair, it seems like more than just a coincidence.
So far we have not seen any side effects from the Xolair injections.
A few things we have learned is that it can take 30 minutes to wait for the injection to be mixed, so plan ahead if you are short on time. The injection is also fairly thick and will hurt less if you ask the nurse to inject the medication slowly.
While this is only one allergic-asthma story it definitely should offer hope to anyone with out-of-control allergic asthma.
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Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.