Injections May Help Patients With Allergic Asthma

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

When you have difficult-to-control asthma, it can be downright miserable. Finding the root cause of some of the symptoms can help your doctor determine whether there are other treatments that might help.

One of the first things our asthma chicks did was allergy testing to check for IgE levels. IgE is an antibody produced during an allergic reaction. It can contribute to the development of several allergic conditions including allergic asthma. When one of our daughter’s tests came back with high levels of IgE, the doctor recommended Xolair injections.

What are Xolair injections and how do they work?

Xolair injections work by binding to the IgE that is produced in allergic reactions and neutralizing its actions. It is given by intramuscular injection one to two times per month. Dosage is based on weight and overall IgE levels.

Who are Xolair injections indicated for?

Xolair is indicated for moderate to severe persistent asthma that is caused or exacerbated by allergies. Not everyone with asthma has this form, known as allergic asthma. In fact, of our twins -- both of whom have been having issues with their asthma lately -- only one was found to have allergic asthma. If your asthma is not caused by allergies the Xolair injections will not work for you.

What does the therapy cost?

Xolair injections can be quite expensive. The cost of Xolair injections can range from $500-$2,000 per month depending on the frequency and dosage needed. Most insurance will cover the injections but may require significant documentation proving they are needed. Most allergists and pulmonologists are well versed in providing the appropriate documentation to the insurance company. If you are still having issues paying for Xolair, try looking into the Patient Assistance Program provided by the manufacturer.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects can vary from person to person and may include: reactions at the site of injections, colds, sinus infections, headache and sore throat. Less common side effects can include: cancers (seen in less than 0.5 percent of patients) and severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis (seen in less than 0.1 percent of patients).

Remember that if a physician has recommended a medication, that doctor thinks the benefit outweighs any risks. If you have questions about medication, potential side effects or any other issues, don’t be afraid to address these with your doctor prior to beginning treatment. Should your concerns be brushed off or your questions ignored, never be afraid to seek a second opinion.

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian 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.