Biologics are injectable medications used to treat patients with asthma, eczema, nasal polyps, chronic hives, and other conditions. Biologics are genetically engineered medications made from the cells of living organisms that modify the part of the immune system that is causing symptoms. This reduces the inflammation that drives these conditions. They have been enormously beneficial for patients who have been suffering from severe asthma, eczema, nasal polyps and hives. Studies have also shown biologics to be very safe.
Asthma: The four biologics we use for asthma are Xolair, Fasenra, Nucala, and Dupixent. Tezepelumab will be approved soon. They all have different requirements for approval, and they are used when patients are still having asthma symptoms despite consistent use of high-dose asthma medications. Symptoms of asthma include frequent wheezing, shortness of breath, or coughing; waking up at night due to shortness of breath; using albuterol several times a week; several courses of oral steroids due to flare-ups; and frequent ER or urgent care visits due to poor asthma control.
Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (Hives): Xolair can also be used to treat chronic idiopathic urticaria in adults and children. This treatment is for individuals who continue to have hives that are not controlled by high-dose antihistamine treatment and that do not have a known cause or trigger of hives.
Eczema: Dupixent can be used for eczema that is not well controlled with a consistent lotion regimen, topical steroid use, and/or non-steroidal creams. These patients tend to have severe eczema that covers a significant portion of their body and are at higher risk of skin infections.
Nasal Polyps: Dupixent can be used for patients with nasal polyps that are not well controlled with nasal steroid sprays. These patients are chronically congested and often complain of a lack of smell or taste, inability to breathe through their nose, and frequent headaches/sinus pressure. This is an option that can be used to avoid surgery or prevent recurrent sinus infections from nasal polyps.