The Role of Biologics in Allergy and Asthma Treatments

The Role of Biologics in Allergy and Asthma Treatments

Earlier this month we celebrated World Allergy Week, a global campaign of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) that aims to raise awareness of the impact of allergy in our communities.

Given the high prevalence of allergic diseases in the United States, we believe it is important to take a closer look at the available biologic treatments.

Allergy and Asthma Facts

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

Other relevant facts listed on the ACAAI website include:

  • Asthma and other related allergic diseases are common for all age groups in the United States
  • Asthma affects as many as 24 million Americans including 6 million children each year
  • Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US with an annual cost of over $18 billion
  • According to data published from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 10% of children under the age of 18 suffered from respiratory allergies and 11.6% from skin allergies

Asthma and Allergy Biologic Treatments

The development of biologic therapies has rapidly progressed in the past two decades with significant advances reported in the treatment of allergic diseases, such as asthma and urticaria, among others.

Biologic Treatment of Asthma

Asthma is a multifaceted disease with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. For this reason, the therapeutic response is highly variable.

Current, standard asthma management relies on inhaled glucocorticoids, however, 10-20% of patients are unable to control or effectively manage their disease with standard treatment.

For individuals with moderate to severe asthma, researchers continue to work on identifying bioactive molecules that contribute to asthma’s pathophysiology, which can lead to more targeted therapies.

Biologics target proteins and receptors in the body that cause inflammation and exacerbations, both of which cause asthma attacks, and can therefore help prevent or alleviate symptoms depending on the type of asthma the patient has — allergic or eosinophilic. Specifically, for patients experiencing allergic inflammation, the anti-IgE biologic (Xolair) targets free IgE in the body. For patients with eosinophilic asthma, the anti-interleukin-5 biologic targets the IL-5 protein (Nucala and Cinqair) and the IL-5 receptor (Fasenra) and depletes the body’s eosinophils.

Biologic Treatment of Urticaria

Chronic urticaria (CU), also known as chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), is a common condition affecting as many as 1% of the population with nearly 20% of sufferers remaining symptomatic 20 years after onset.

First line therapy for chronic urticaria is second-generation antihistamines which often require high doses. Unfortunately, nearly half of all patients will prove to be unresponsive to this first line therapy and will therefore require other medications, including immune response modifiers or biologics like Xolair. Xolair markedly decreases circulating IgE levels and has proven to be an effective treatment in a variety of forms of urticaria, including chronic urticaria, urticarial vasculitis and a number of physical urticarias.

While cases of asthma and other allergic diseases continue to rise in the United States and around the world, ongoing research provides valuable information as to how these diseases develop and affect individual patients, leading to the creation of new biologic treatments that may result in better management of chronic allergic diseases.

Altus Infusion is a leader in biologic management solutions. We help specialty practices establish and offer in-office biologic treatments, providing their patients a convenient, affordable and quality treatment location.

For more information on how Altus Infusion can help you and your patients, please send us an email with your inquiry at or call us at 855.692.5887.  

At Altus Infusion, we care about the wellbeing of all patients, which is why we are dedicated to helping raise awareness of the different ways we can improve our health and live longer happier lives.

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Disclaimer:  The information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Any content regarding symptoms and possible treatment of illnesses is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Altus Infusion does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information published in its blog and will not be held responsible for the content of any blog publication.

You should always consult your primary care physician for specific medical advice.