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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Panminerva Medica 2004 June;46(2):141-8

language: English

Omalizumab: efficacy in allergic disease

Spector S.

University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Asthma and allergic rhinitis are common conditions that have a substantial impact on patient quality of life, severely disrupting physical, emotional and social functioning. These diseases share many pathophysiological characteristics and recent research has provided evidence that a strong causal relationship exists between allergy and both asthma and allergic rhinitis. As a root cause of allergic diseases of the airways, immunoglobulin E (IgE) represents an appropriate target for the development of new therapies. Omalizumab (Xolair®) is a recombinant humanized monoclonal anti-IgE antibody that has demostrated efficacy in allergic asthma and other IgE-related allergic illnesses. In three pivotal, placebo-controlled trials in patients with moderate-to-severe allergic asthma, omalizumab provided effective disease control, significantly reducing exacerbations while improving quality of life. Additionally, omalizumab reduced the need for unscheduled outpatient visits, emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Omalizumab was particularly useful as add-on treatment for patients with poorly controlled severe asthma. Similar benefits were reported in patients with seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis. Omalizumab significantly improved disease symptoms and reduced the use of rescue antihistamines. In patients with concomitant asthma and perennial allergic rhinitis, omaliuzumab significantly prevented asthma exacerbations and improved quality of life compared with placebo. Taken together, these results suggest that omalizumab represents an important clinical advance in the management of allergic diesease.

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